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Covert Action Against U.S. 

Activists and What We Can 

Do About It 

Brian Glick 


Boston, MA 

No. 6 in the South End Press Pamphlet Series 


Introduction 1 


COINTELPRO: Covert Action Against the Domestic 

Dissidents of the 1960s 7 

How We Learned About COINTELPRO 7 

How COINTELPRO Worked 9 

COINTELPRO's Main Targets 10 
How COINTELPRO Helped Destroy the Movements 

of the 1960s 13 


Domestic Covert Action Remains a Serious Threat Today 19 

Domestic Covert Action Did Not End in the 1970s 20 
Domestic Covert Action Has Persisted Throughout the 1 980s 29 
Domestic Covert Action Has Become a 

Permanent Feature of U.S. Government 33 


What We Can Do About Domestic Covert Action 39 
Learning the Methods of COINTELPRO and 

How to Protect Ourselves Against Them 39 

1 . Infiltration by Agents and Informers 41 

2. Psychological Warfare From the Outside 45 

3. Harassment Through the Legal System 53 

4. Extralegal Force and Violence 59 
Exposing Domestic Covert Action as Undemocratic 

and a Form of Terrorism 65 

Publicly Opposing the Government's Continued 

Use of Domestic Covert Action 69 

Not Letting Political Repression Divert Us From 

Building Strong Movements for Social Justice 73 

COINTELPRO Documents 74 

Notes 82 

Further Reading 91 

About the Author 91 

Resource Organizations 92 


In January 1988, the people of the United States learned of a secret 
nationwide FBI campaign against the domestic opponents of U.S. policy 
in Central America. Government documents obtained through the 
Freedom of Information Act show that from 1981 through at least 1985, 
the FBI infiltrated the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El 
Salvador (CISPES) and disrupted its work all across the country. The 
investigation eventually reached into nearly every sector of the anti-in- 
tervention movement, from the Maryknoll Sisters, the Southern Christian 
Leadership Conference, and the New Jewish Agenda to the United Auto 
Workers, the United Steel Workers, U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd, and 
U.S. Representatives Pat Schroeder and Jim Wright.^ 

Some of the goals and methods of this campaign were revealed by 
a central participant, Frank Varelli. Varelli admitted that from 1981 
through 1984, the FBI paid him to infiltrate and "break" the Dallas, Texas 
chapter of CISPES. To this end, he and his cohorts put out bogus literature 
under the CISPES name, burglarized CISPES members' homes, and paid 
right-wing students to start fights at CISPES rallies. Varelli was told to 
seduce an activist nun to get blackmail photos for the FBI. It was also 
suggested that he plant guns on CISPES members. As part of his work, 
he routinely exchanged information about U.S. and Central American 
activists with the Salvadoran National Guard, sponsor of that country's 
death squads.^ 

Elsewhere in the Southwest, in 1984, government informers sur- 
faced as the main witnesses in the federal prosecution of clergy and lay 
workers providing sanctuary for refugees from El Salvador and 
Guatemala. Salomon Graham and Jesus Cruz testified that they were paid 
by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to infiltrate 
church services, Bible classes, and sanctuary support networks. They 
were part of "Operation Sojourner," the U.S. Justice Department's 
countrywide crackdown on sanctuary churches and organizations.^ 

In the San Francisco Bay Area, in the early 1980s, the Livermore 
Action Group's meetings to plan anti-nuclear civil disobedience were 
similarly infiltrated by both the U.S. Navy and the Federal Emergency 
Management Administration.'' The FBI has admitted such operations 
from 1982-84 against the Bay Area branches of Physicians for Social 

2 Brian GUck 

Responsibility and other peace groups.^ In September 1987, the Bureau 
fired Special Agent John Ryan for refusing to conduct a similar "terrorism 
investigation" of the Illinois peace group, Veterans Fast for Life.^ 

In Albany, New York in 1981, the FBI and police infiltrated and 
disrupted the Capital District Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism 
(CDCAAR). At 3 a.m. on the day of the group's protest against the U.S. 
tour of the South African Springbok rugby team, FBI agents and state 
and local police broke into the home of CDCAAR leader Vera Michelson. 
Supposedly acting on an anonymous FBI informer's false report that the 
anti-apartheid activists were stockpiling weapons, the officers burst into 
Michelson's bedroom, put a shotgun to her head, and forced her to crawl 
to another part of the apartment where she was handcuffed to a table. 
They then ransacked the apartment, confiscating CDCAAR files along 
with private papers and address books. Michelson and two other or- 
ganizers were detained on bogus charges and kept from participating in 
the demonstration. They later learned that the same FBI infiltrator had 
spread false reports of planned violence in order to discourage participa- 
tion in the demonstration.^ 

Other forms of government harassment hit activists who spent time 
in Nicaragua or Cuba during the 1980s. Travelers and travel agencies 
were audited by the Internal Revenue Service. Private papers were 
copied or confiscated at the border. Mail arrived late and open, or never 
arrived. Returnees' homes, jobs, churches, and communities were 
hounded by the FBI. ^World-renowned feminist author Margaret Randall, 
a former U.S. citizen who returned home after several years in Cuba and 
Nicaragua, was denied permanent residence status and ordered to leave 
the United States solely on the basis of the political content of her 

Churches and organizations opposed to U.S. policy in Central 
America reported more than 300 incidents of harassment from 1984 
through 1988, including nearly 100 break-ins. Important papers, files, 
and computer disks were stolen or found damaged and strewn about, 
while money and valuables were left untouched. License plates on a car 
seen fleeing an attempted burglary of the Washington, D.C. office of 
Sojourners, a religious group that helped form the Pledge of Resistance 
to U.S. war in Central America, were traced to the U.S. National Security 
Agency. Other incidents were also attributed to government agents or to 
"private" right-wing groups backed by Lt. Col. Oliver North at the 
National Security Council. The FBI repeatedly rejected congressional 
calls for a federal probe.^° 

.Similar break-ins were experienced throughout 1987-88 by U.S. 
supporters of Palestinian self-determination. On January 26, 1988, the 


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FBI, INS, and Los Angeles police arrested eight activists for deportation 
as "terrorists." The evidence against them consisted solely of photos 
showing that they helped distribute magazines published by the Popular 
Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As the eight appealed the INS ruling, 
their homes were burglarized and boxes of files on their case were stolen 
from the cars of American Friends Service Committee staff and others 
active in their defense. Secret INS plans uncovered in February 1988 call 
for thousands more U.S. Arab-American activists to be rounded up and 
deported as "alien terrorists and undesirables."" 

The same terrorist label provided the pretext for recent FBI attacks 
on the movement for Puerto Rico's independence from U.S. colonial 
rule. On August 30, 1985, hundreds of FBI agents, backed by military 
helicopters, rounded up prominent independentistas and charged them 
with being members of Los Macheteros, a clandestine independence 
organization. The raiders destroyed the editorial offices and printing 
presses of the progressive journal Pensamiento Critico and ransacked 
the homes and offices of 38 well-known poets, artists, trade unionists, 
labor lawyers, and community organizers. Thirteen were held incom- 
municado for days and publicly branded as "terrorists." Finally charged 
with conspiracy to rob a Wells Fargo depot in Hartford, Connecticut, 
nine were kept in U.S. jails for more than a year, two for nearly three 
years, under new federal preventive detention laws. One of those two, 
Filiberto Ojeda Rios, who is 55 years old and has a serious heart 
condition, was released under court order in May 1988 but quickly 
re-jailed (for having defended himself and resisted arrest during the 1985 
raid) and again held without bail. Although the defendants are Spanish 
speaking, the court acceded to the prosecution's demand that they be 
tried in English, more than 1000 miles from their families and homeland. 
Pre-trial hearings implicated the FBI in falsified reports, alteration of 
evidence, burglaries, illegal surveillance, and intimidation of witnesses. ^^ 

A comparable show of paramilitary might accompanied the Oc- 
tober 18, 1984 arrest of eight New York City Black activists. A "Joint 
Anti-Terrorist Task Force" of more than 500 FBI and police agents, 
wielding machine guns and a bazooka, cordoned off entire city blocks 
to arrest law school graduates, city housing managers, college students, 
and a union steward. Promising comjnunity projects were disrupted 
while the eight were held for weeks without bail and placed for almost 
a year under strict curfew, while their co-workers were jailed for refusing 
to testify before a grand jury. Acquitted of the major charges when jurors 
rejected the claims of a police infiltrator, the eight faced continued police 
harassment. One was later framed on bogus weapons charges, along 


with two other leaders of a Brooklyn community group, Black Men 
Against Crack." 

In Alabama, in the mid-1980s, the FBI mounted an even more 
massive effort to intimidate grassroots supporters of Jesse Jackson's 
presidential campaign and to crush the emerging pro-Jackson Black 
leadership based in the Campaign for a New South. 

Immediately after the September 1984 primaries in Alabama, as 
many as two hundred FBI agents swept through the five westem 
Alabama Black Belt counties that had given their votes to Jesse 
Jackson, rousing elderly people from their beds in the middle of the 
night, taking about one thousand of them in police-escorted buses to 
Mobile to be finger-printed, and suggesting that their absentee ballots 
may have been tampered with by the civil rights workers who had 
secured their votes. The offices of civil rights workers were also raided 
and some of the documents they needed for the November elections 
were confiscated. 

In January 1985, indictments for vote and mail fraud were handed 
down against eight of the Black Bek's most experienced organizers 
and political leaders. In bringing the indictments, the federal govem- 
ment used the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the very act most of these 
people had marched from Selma to Montgomery to get enacted.*^ 

Although the defendants were acquitted of all major charges and their 
organization survived, the raids, interrogations, arrests, and trials took a 
heavy toll. 

Government harassment of U.S. political activists clearly exists 
today, violating our fundamental democratic rights and creating a climate 
of fear and distrust which undermines our efforts to challenge official 
policy. Similar attacks on social justice movements came to light during 
the 1960s. Only years later did we learn that these had been merely the 
visible tip of an iceberg. Largely hidden at the time was a vast govern- 
ment program to neutralize domestic political opposition through 
"covert action" (political repression carried out secretly or under the 
guise of legitimate law enforcement). 

The 1960s program, coordinated by the FBI under the code name 
"COINTELPRO," was exposed in the 1970s and supposedly stopped. But 
covert operations against domestic dissidents did not end. TTiey have 
persisted and become an integral part of government activity. This book 
is designed to help today's activists learn from the history of COIN- 
TELPRO, so that future movements can better fight this war at home. 

6 Brian Glick 

The opening section reviews what we know about COINTELPRO. 
It explains how the program was uncovered when the FBI and police 
were compelled to release previously secret documents. It outlines 
COINTELPRO's methods and targets and assesses its contribution to the 
decline of the movements of the 1960s. 

The next section shows that domestic covert action did not end 
when COINTELPRO was officially disbanded. It remained in effect under 
other names and it continues to be a serious threat today. Persisting 
under Democratic as well as Republican administrations, it has become 
a permanent feature of U.S. politics. 

The final section discusses what we can do about this danger. It 
analyzes the specific methods used in COINTELPRO — ^infiltration, 
psychological warfare, harassment through the legal system, and ex- 
tralegal force and violence — ^and proposes steps to limit or deflect their 
impact on our movements. It shows that these methods do not protect 
"national security" or combat terrorism, as claimed by the government, 
but actually serve to foment violence and subvert democracy. Various 
tactics are suggested for publicly exposing the reality of domestic covert 
action and mobilizing broad-based protest against its continued use. 

Excerpts from key COINTELPRO documents are reproduced at the 
back of the book, along with a list of resource groups and additional 

Domestic covert action is a powerful deterrent to democratic 
discussion of public policy and effective organizing for social change. 
We need to take it seriously without being distracted from our main 
goals. Please talk with other activists about the analysis and recommen- 
dations presented here. Adapt the guidelines to the conditions you face. 
Point out problems and suggest other approaches. 

Now is the time to begin fighting the hidden war at home. 



Covert Action Against the 

Domestic Dissidents of 

the 1960s 

While much FBI and police harassment was blatant during the 
1960s, and surveillance and infiltration were suspected, talk of CIA-style 
covert action against domestic dissidents was generally dismissed as 
"paranoia." It was not until the 1970s, after the damage had been done, 
that the sordid history of COINTELPRO began to emerge. This Chapter 
describes how COINTELPRO was uncovered and what we now know 
of its methods, targets, and impact. 

• How We Learned About COINTELPRO 

The first concrete evidence of COINTELPRO surfaced in March 
1971, when a "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" removed secret 
files from an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania and released them to the 
press.^^ That same year, agents began to resign from the Bureau and to 
blow the whistle on its covert operations. ^^ These revelations came at a 
time of enormous social unrest and declining public confidence in 
government. Publication of the Pentagon Papers in September 1971 
exposed years of systematic official lies about the Vietnam War. Soon it 
was learned that a clandestine squad of White House "plumbers" had 
broken into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office in an effort to smear 
the former Pentagon staffer who had leaked the top-secret papers to the 

The same "plumbers" were caught the following year burglarizing 
the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee. Nationally 
televised congressional hearings on Watergate revealed a full-blown 
program of "dirty tricks" to subvert the anti-war movement as well as the 


8 BrianGlick 

Democratic Party by forging letters, leaking false news items to the press, 
stealing files, and roughing up demonstrators. Lines of command for 
these operations were traced to Attorney General Mitchell and the White 
House, with the FBI implicated in a massive cover-up involving President 
Nixon and his top staff. By 1971, congressional hearings had already 
disclosed U.S. Army infiltration of domestic political movements. Similar 
CIA and local police activity soon came to light, along with ghastly 
accounts of CIA operations abroad to destabilize democratically elected 
governments and assassinate heads of state. 

This crisis was eventually resolved through what historian Howard 
Zinn describes as "a complex process of consolidation," based on "the 
need to satisfy a disillusioned public that the system was criticizing and 
correcting itself."^^ In this process, the U.S. Freedom of Information Act 
(FOLA) was amended over President Nixon's veto to provide some 
degree of genuine public access to FBI documents. Lawsuits under the 
FOLA forced the Bureau to release some COINTELPRO files to major 
news media. By 1975, both houses of Congress had launched formal 
inquiries into government "intelligence activities." 

The agencies under congressional investigation were allowed to 
withhold most of their files and to edit the Senate Committee's reports 
before publication.^' The House Committee's report, including an ac- 
count of FBI and CIA obstruction of its inquiry, was suppressed al- 
together after part was leaked to the press.^ Still, pressure to promote 
the appearance of genuine reform was so great that the FBI had to 
divulge an unprecedented, detailed account of many of its domestic 
covert operations. 

Many important files continue to be withheld, and others have 
been destroyed.^* Former operatives report that the most heinous and 
embarrassing actions were never committed to writing.^ Officials with 

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broad personal knowledge of COINTELPRO have been silenced, most 
notably William C. Sullivan, who created the program and ran it 
throughout the 1960s. Sullivan was killed in an uninvestigated 1977 
"hunting accident" shortly after giving extensive information to a grand 
jury investigating the FBI, but before he could testify publicly.^ Never- 
theless, a great deal has been learned about COINTELPRO. 

• How COINTELPRO Worked 

When congressional investigations, political trials, and other tradi- 
tional legal modes of repression failed to counter the growing move- 
ments, and even helped to fuel them, the FBI and police moved outside 
the law. They resorted to the secret and systematic use of fraud and force 
to sabotage constitutionally protected political activity. Their methods 
ranged far beyond surveillance, amounting to a homefront version of 
the covert action for which the CIA has become infamous throughout 
the world. 

FBI Headquarters secretly instructed its field offices to propose 
schemes to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutral- 
ize" specific individuals and groups.^"* Close coordination with local 
police and prosecutors was strongly encouraged. Other recommended 
collaborators included friendly news media, business and foundation 
executives, and university, church, and trade union officials, as well as 
such "patriotic" organizations as the American Legion. 

Final authority rested with FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 
Top FBI officials pressed local field offices to step up their activity and 
demanded regular progress reports. Agents were directed to maintain 
full secrecy "such that under no circumstances should the existence of 
the program be made known outside the Bureau and appropriate 

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within-office security should be afforded to sensitive operations and 
techniques."'^ A total of 2,370 officially approved COINTELPRO actions 
were admitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee,^ and thousands 
more have since been uncovered. 

Four main methods have been revealed: 

1. Infiltration: Agents and informers did not merely spy on 
political activists. Their main purpose was to discredit and dismpt. Their 
very presence served to undermine trust and scare off potential sup- 
porters. The FBI and police exploited this fear to smear genuine activists 
as agents. 

2. Psycliological Warfare From the Outside: The FBI and 
police used myriad other "dirty tricks" to undermine progressive move- 
ments. They planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and 
other publications in the name of targeted groups. They forged cor- 
respondence, sent anonymous letters, and made anonymous telephone 
calls. They spread misinformation about meetings and events, set up 
pseudo movement groups run by government agents, and manipulated 
or strong-armed parents, employers, landlords, school officials and 
others to cause trouble for activists. 

3. Harassment Through the Legal System: The FBI and police 
abused the legal system to harass dissidents and make them appear to 
be criminals. Officers of the law gave perjured testimony and presented 
fabricated evidence as a pretext for false arrests and wrongful imprison- 
ment. They discriminatorily enforced tax laws and other government 
regulations and used conspicuous surveillance, "investigative" inter- 
views, and grand jury subpoenas in an effort to intimidate activists and 
silence their supporters. 

4. Extralegal Force and Violence: The FBI and police 
threatened, instigated, and themselves conducted break-ins, vandalism, 
assaults, and beatings. The object was to frighten dissidents and disrupt 
their movements. In the case of radical Black and Puerto Rican activists 
(and later Native Americans), these attacks — ^including political assas- 
sinations — were so extensive, vicious, and calculated that they can 
accurately be termed a form of official "terrorism." 

Each of these COINTELPRO methods is described and analyzed in 
detail on pages 41-65. Specific examples from the documentary record 
of the 1960s are presented there, along with practical suggestions for 
coping with similar attacks in the future. 

• COINTELPRO's Main Targets 

Though the name COINTELPRO stands for "Counterintelligence 
Program," the government's targets were not enemy spies. The Senate 


Intelligence Committee later found that "Under COINTELPRO certain 
techniques the Bureau had used against hostile foreign agents were 
adopted for use against perceived domestic threats to the established 
political and social order. "^^ 

The most intense COINTELPRO operations were directed against 
the Black movement, particularly the Black Panther Party. This was to 
some extent a function of the racism of the FBI and police, as well as the 
vulnerability of the Black community (due to its lack of ties to political 
and economic elites and the tendency of the media — and whites in 
general — ^to ignore or tolerate attacks on Black group^). At a deeper 
level, the choice of targets reflects government and corporate fear of a 
militant, broad-based Black movement. Such a movement is dangerous 
because of its historic capacity to galvanize widespread rebellion at 
home and its repercussions for the U.S. image abroad. Moreover, Black 
people's location in major urban centers and primary industries gives 
them the potential to disrupt the base of the U.S. economy. 

COINTELPRO's targets were not, however, limited to Black 
militants. Many other activists who wanted to end U.S. intervention 
abroad or institute racial, gender, and class justice at home also came 
under attack. Cesar Chavez, Fathers Daniel and Phillip Berrigan, Rev. 
Jesse Jackson, David Dellinger, officials of the American Friends Service 
Committee and the National Council of Churches, and other leading 
pacifists were high on the list, as were projects directly protected by the 
First Amendment, such as anti-war teach-ins, progressive bookstores, 
independent filmmakers, and alternative newspapers and news ser- 
vices.^ Martin Luther King, Jr., world-renowned prophet of non- 
violence, was the object of sustained FBI assault. King was marked, 
barely a month before his murder, for elimination as a potential "mes- 
siah" who could "unify and electrify" the Black movement.^^ 

Ultimately, FBI documents disclosed six major official counterin- 
telligence programs (as well as non-COINTELPRO covert operations 
against Native American, Asian- American, Arab-American, Iranian, and 
other activists): 

Communist Party-USA (1956-71): This was the first and largest 
program, which contributed to the Party's decline in the late 1950s and 
was used in the early and mid-1960s mainly against civil rights, civil 
liberties, and peace activists. Its targets during the latter period included 
Martin Luther King, Jr., the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the 
NAACP, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Committee to Abolish 
the House Un-American Activities Comumittee, Women's Strike for Peace, 
the American Friends Service Committee, and the National Committee 
for a SANE Nuclear Policy. 

12 Brian Glick 

Groups Seeking Independence for Puerto Rico (1960-71): 
Initially hidden from congressional investigators, and still one of the least 
well known, this program functioned to disrupt, discredit, and faction- 
alize the island's main centers of anti-colonial resistance, especially the 
Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) and Socialist League (LSP). It also 
appears to have targeted groups fighting for human rights for Puerto 
Ricans living in the United States, such as the Young Lords Party. 

Border Coverage Program (1960-71): This program of covert 
operations against radical Mexican organizations was similarly con- 
cealed from Congress. The few documents released to date do not 
indicate how much the FBI used it against 1960s Chicano activists such 
as the Brown Berets, the Crusade for Justice (Colorado), La Alianza (New 
Mexico), and the Chicano Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam (Los 
Angeles), which are known to have been infiltrated and repressed by 
other government agencies. 

Socialist Workers Party Disruption (1961-69): In addition to 
ongoing attacks on the SWP and its youth group, the Young Socialist 
Alliance, this program operated against whomever those groups sup- 
ported or worked with, especially Malcolm X and the National Mobiliza- 
tion Committee to End the War in Vietnam. 

BiBck Nationalist Hate Groups (1967-71): This was the vehicle 
for the Bureau's all-out assault on Martin Luther King, Jr. (in the late 
1960s), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the 
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Black Panther Party, the Nation 
of Islam ("Black Muslims"), the National Welfare Rights Organization, 
the League of Black Revolutionary Workers, the Dodge Revolutionary 
Union Movement (DRUM), the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), 
the Republic of New Afrika (RNA), the Congress of African People, Black 
student unions, and many local Black churches and community or- 
ganizations struggling for decent living conditions, justice, equality, and 

New Left (1968-71): A program to destroy Students for a 
Democratic Society (SDS), the Peace and Freedom Party, the Institute for 
Policy Studies, and a broad range of anti-war, anti-racist, student, GI, 
veteran, feminist, lesbian, gay, environmental, Marxist, and anarchist 
groups, as well as the network of food co-ops, health clinics, child care 
centers, schools, bookstores, newspapers, community centers, street 
theaters, rock groups, and communes that formed the infrastructure of 
the counter-culture. 

White Hate Groups (1964-71): This unique "program" functioned 
largely as a component of the FBFs operations against the progressive 
activists who were COINTELPRO's main targets. Under the cover of 


being even-handed and going after violent right-wing groups, the FBI 
actually gave covert aid to the Ku Klux Klan, Minutemen, Nazis, and 
other racist vigilantes. These groups received substantial funds, infomia- 
tion, and protection — ^and suffered only token FBI harassment — ^so long 
as they directed their violence against COINTELPRO targets. They were 
not subjected to serious dismption unless they breached this tacit under- 
standing and attacked established business and political leaders. 

• How COINTELPRO Helped Destroy the 
Movements of the 1960s^ 

Since COINTELPRO was used mainly against the progressive 
movements of the 1960s, its impact can be grasped only in the context 
of the momentous social upheaval which shook the country during those 

All across the United States, Black communities came alive with 
renewed political struggle. Most major cities experienced sustained, 
disciplined Black protest and massive ghetto uprisings. Black activists 
galvanized multi-racial rebellion among GIs, welfare mothers, students, 
and prisoners. 

College campuses and high schools erupted in militant protest 
against the Vietnam War. A predominantly white New Left, inspired by 
the Black movement, fought for an end to U.S. intervention abroad and 
a more humane and cooperative way of life at home. By the late 1960s, 
deep-rooted resistance had revived among Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, 
Asian Americans, and Native Americans. A second wave of broad-based 
struggle for women's liberation had also emerged, along with significant 
efforts by lesbians, gay men, and disabled people. 

Millions of people in the United States began to reject the dominant 
ideology and culture. Thousands challenged basic U.S. political and 
economic institutions. For a brief moment, "the crucial mixture of 
people's confidence in the government and lack of confidence in them- 
selves which allows the government to govern, the ruling class to 
rule. . .threatened to break down."^^ 

By the mid-1970s, this upheaval had largely subsided. Important 
progressive activity persisted, mainly on a local level, and much con- 
tinued to be learned and won, but the massive, militant Black and New 
Left movements were gone. The sense of infinite possibility and of our 
collective power to shape the future had been lost. Progressive momen- 
tum dissipated. Radicals found themselves on the defensive as right-wing 
extremists gained major government positions and defined the contours 
of accepted political debate. 

14 Brian Glick 

Many factors besides COINTELPRO contributed to this change. 
Important progress was made toward achieving movement goals such 
as Black civil rights, an end to the Vietnam War, and university reform. 
The mass media, owned by big business and cowed by government and 
right-wing attack, helped to bury radical activism by ceasing to cover it. 
Television, popular magazines, and daily papers stereotyped Blacks as 
hardened criminals and welfare chiselers or as the supposedly affluent 
beneficiaries of reverse "discrimination." White youth were portrayed 
first as hedonistic hippies and mindless terrorists, later as an apolitical, 
self-indulgent "me generation." Both were scapegoated as threats to 
"decent, hard-working Middle America." 

During the severe economic recession of the early- to mid- 1970s, 
former student activists began entering the job market, some taking on 
responsibility for children. Many were scared by brutal government and 
right-wing attacks culminating in the murder of rank-and-file activists as 
well as prominent leaders. Some were strung out on the hard drugs that 
had become increasingly available in Black and Latin communities and 
among white youth. Others were disillusioned by mistreatment in move- 
ments ravaged by the very social sicknesses they sought to eradicate, 
including racism, sexism, homophobia, class bias and competition. 

Limited by their upbringing, social position, and isolation from 
older radical traditions, 1960s activists were unable to make the connec- 
tions and changes required to build movements strong enough to survive 
and eventually win structural change in the United States. Middle-class 
students did not sufficiently ally with working and poor people. Too few 
white activists accepted third world leadership of multi-racial alliances. 
Too many men refused to practice genuine gender equality. 

Originally motivated by goals of quick reforms, 1960s activists were 
ill-prepared for the long-term struggles in which they found themselves. 
Overly dependent on media-oriented superstars and one-shot dramatic 
actions, they failed to develop stable organizations, accountable leader- 
ship, and strategic perspective. Creatures of the culture they so despised, 
they often lacked the patience to sustain tedious grassroots work and 
painstaking analysis of actual social conditions. They found it hard to 
accept the slow, uneven pace of personal and political change. 

This combination of circumstances, however, did not by itself 
guarantee political collapse. The achievements of the 1960s movements 
could have inspired optimism and provided a sense of the power to win 
other important struggles. The rightward shift of the major media could 
have enabled alternative newspapers, magazines, theater, film, and 
video to attract a broader audience and stable funding. The economic 
downturn of the early 1970s could have united Black militants. New 


Leftists, and workers in common struggle. Police brutality and govern- 
ment collusion in drug trafficking could have been exposed in ways that 
undermined support for the authorities and broadened the movements' 

By the close of the decade, many of the movements* internal 
weaknesses were starting to be addressed. Black-led multi-racial allian- 
ces, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign and the 
Black Panthers* Rainbow Coalition, were forming. The movements' class 
base was broadening through Black "revolutionary unions" in auto and 
other industries, King's increasing focus on economic issues, the New 
Left's spread to comumunity colleges, and the return of working-class GIs 
radicalized by their experience in Vietnam. At the same time, the 
women's movement was confronting the deep sexism which permeated 
1960s activism, along with its corollaries: homophobia, sexual violence, 
militarism, competitiveness, and top-down decision-making. 

While the problems of the 1960s movements were enormous, their 
strengths might have enabled them to overcome their weaknesses had 
the upsurge not been stifled before activists could learn from their 
mistakes. Much of the movements' inability to transcend their initial 
limitations and overcome adversity can be traced to COINTELPRO. 

It was through COINTELPRO that the public image of Blacks and 
New Leftists was distorted to legitimize their arrest and imprisonment 
and scapegoat them as the cause of working people's problems. The FBI 
and police instigated violence and fabricated movement horrors. Dissi- 
dents were deliberately "criminalized" through false charges, frame-ups, 
and offensive, bogus leaflets and other materials published in their name. 
(Specific examples of these and other COINTELPRO operations are 
presented on pages 41-65.) 

COINTELPRO enabled the FBI and police to exacerbate the 
movements' internal stresses until beleaguered activists turned on one 
another. Whites were pitted against Blacks, Blacks against Chicanos and 
Puerto Ricans, students against workers, workers against people on 
welfare, men against women, religious activists against atheists. Chris- 
tians against Jews, Jews against Muslims. "Anonymous" accusations of 
infidelity ripped couples apart. Backers of women's and gay liberation 
were attacked as "dykes" or "faggots." Money was repeatedly stolen and 
precious equipment sabotaged to intensify pressure and sow suspicion 
and mistrust. 

Otherwise manageable disagreements were inflamed by COIN- 
TELPRO until they erupted into hostile splits that shattered alliances, tore 
groups apart, and drove dedicated activists out of the movement. 
Government documents implicate the FBI and police in the bitter break- 

16 Brian Glick 

Up of such pivotal groups as the Black Panther Party, SDS, and the 
Liberation News Service, and in the collapse of repeated efforts to form 
long-term coalitions across racial, class, and regional lines. While 
genuine political issues were often involved in these disputes, the 
outcome could have been different if government agencies had not 
covertly intervened to subvert compromise and fuel hostility and com- 

Finally, it was COINTELPRO that enabled the FBI and police to 
eliminate the leaders of mass movements without undermining the 
image of the United States as a democracy, complete with free speech 
and the rule of law. Charismatic orators and dynamic organizers were 
covertly attacked and "neutralized" before their skills could be trans- 
ferred to others and stable structures established to carry on their work. 
Malcolm X was killed in a "factional dispute" which the FBI took credit 
for having "developed" in the Nation of Islam.^^ Martin Luther King, Jr. 
was the target of an elaborate FBI plot to drive him to suicide and replace 
him "in his role of the leadership of the Negro people" with conservative 
Black lawyer Samuel Pierce (later named to Reagan's cabinet).^^ Many 
have come to view King's eventual assassination (and Malcolm's as well) 
as itself a domestic covert operation.^ 

Other prominent radicals faced similar attack when they began to 
develop broad foUowings and express anti-capitalist ideas. Some were 
portrayed as crooks, thugs, philanderers, or government agents, while 
others were physically threatened or assaulted until they abandoned 
their work. Still others were murdered under phony pretexts, such as 
"shootouts" in which the only shots were fired by the police. 

To help bring down a major target, the FBI often combined these 
approaches in strategic sequence. Take the case of the "underground 
press," a network of some 400 radical weeklies and several national news 
services, which once boasted a combined readership of close to 30 
million. In the late 1960s, government agents raided the offices of 
alternative newspapers across the country in purported pursuit of drugs 
and fugitives. In the process, they destroyed typewriters, cameras, print- 
ing presses, layout equipment, business records, and research files, and 
roughed up and jailed staffers on bogus charges. Meanwhile, the FBI 
was persuading record companies to withdraw lucrative advertising and 
arranging for printers, suppliers, and distributors to drop underground 
press accounts. With their already shaky operations in disarray, the 
papers and news services were easy targets for a final phase of COIN- 
TELPRO disruption. Forged correspondence, anonymous accusations, 
and infiltrators' manipulation provoked a flurry of wild charges and 




<reol cNnoA^e ... 




18 Brian Glick 

counter-charges that played a major role in bringing many of these 
promising endeavors to a premature end.^^ 

A similar pattern can be discerned from the history of the Black 
Panther Party. Brutal government attacks initially elicited broad support 
for this new, militant, highly visible national organization and its popular 
ten-point socialist program for Black self-determination. But the FBFs 
repressive onslaught severely weakened the Party, making it vulnerable 
to sophisticated FBI psychological warfare which so discredited and 
shattered it that few people today have any notion of the power and 
potential that the Panthers once represented.^ 

What proved most devastating in all of this was the effective 
manipulation of the victims of COINTELPRO into blaming themselves. 
Since the FBI and police operated covertly, the horrors they engineered 
appeared to emanate from within the movements. Activists' trust in one 
another and in their collective power was subverted, and the hopes of 
a generation died, leaving a legacy of cynicism and despair which 
continues to haunt us today. 

Black Panther Party Program: What We Want 

— adopted 1966 

1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our 
Black Community. 

2. We want full employment for our people. 

3. We want an end to the robbery by the CAPITALIST of our Black 

4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings. 

5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this 
decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true 
history and our role in the present-day society. 

6. We want all black men to be exempt from military service. 

7. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of 
black people. 

8. We want freedom for all black men held in federal, state, county and 
city prisons and jails. 

9. We want all black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by 
a jury of their peer group or people from their black communities, as 
defined by the Constitution of the United States. 

10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace. 
And as our major political objective, a United Nations-supervised ple- 
biscite to be held throughout the black colony in which only black 
colonial subjects will be allowed to participate, for the purpose of 
determining the will of black people as to their national destiny. 


Domestic Covert Action 
Remains a Serious Threat 


The public exposure of COINTELPRO and other government 
abuses elicited a flurry of apparent reform in the 1970s. President Nixon 
resigned in the face of impeachment. His Attorney General, other top 
aides, and many of the "plumbers" were prosecuted and imprisoned for 
brief periods. The CIA's director and counter-intelligence chief were 
ousted, and the CIA and the Army were again directed to cease covert 
operations against domestic targets.^^ 

The FBI had fonnally shut down COINTELPRO a few weeks after 
it was uncovered. As part of the general face-lift, the Bureau publicly 
apologized for COINTELPRO, and municipal governments began to 
disband the local police "red squads" that had served as the FBI's main 
accomplices. A new Attorney General notified several hundred activists 
that they had been victims of COINTELPRO and issued guidelines 
limiting future operations. Top FBI officials were indicted for ordering 
the burglary of activists' offices and homes; two were convicted, and 
several others retired or resigned. The Bureau's egomaniacal, crudely 
racist and sexist founder, J. Edgar Hoover, died in 1972. After two interim 
directors failed to stem the tide of criticism, a prestigious federal judge, 
William Webster, was appointed by President Carter to clean house and 
build a "new FBI."^ 

Behind this public hoopla, however, the Bureau's war at home 
continued unabated. Domestic covert action did not end when it was 
exposed in the 1970s. It has persisted throughout the 1980s and become 
a permanent feature of U.S. government. 


20 Brian Gllck 

• Domestic Covert Action Did Not End 
in the 1970s 

Director Webster's highly touted refomis did not create a "new 
FBI." They served mainly to modernize the existing Bureau and to make 
it even more dangerous. In place of the backbiting competition with 
other law enforcement and intelligence agencies which had previously 
impeded coordination of domestic counter-insurgency, Webster 
promoted inter-agency cooperation. Adopting the mantle of an "equal 
opportunity employer," his FBI hired women and people of color to 
more effectively penetrate a broader range of political targets. By cul- 
tivating a low-visibility image and discreetly avoiding public attack on 
prominent liberals, Webster gradually restored the Bureau's respect- 
ability and won over a number of its former critics.^ 

State and local police similarly upgraded their repressive 
capabilities in the 1970s while learning to present a more friendly public 
face. The "red squads" that had harassed 1960s activists were quietly 
resurrected under other names. Paramilitary SWAT teams and tactical 
squads were formed, along with highly politicized "community rela- 
tions" and "beat rep" programs featuring conspicuous Black, Latin, and 
female officers. Generous federal funding and sophisticated technology 
became available through the Law Enforcement Assistance Administra- 
tion, while FBI-led "joint anti-terrorist task forces" introduced a new level 
of inter-agency coordination.'^ 

Meanwhile, the CIA continued to use university professors, jour- 
nalists, labor leaders, publishing houses, cultural organizations, and 
philanthropic fronts to mold U.S. public opinion.''^ At the same time. 
Army Special Forces and othe* elite military units began to train local 
police for counter-insurgency and to intensify their own preparations, 
following the guidelines of the secret Pentagon contingency plans, 
"Garden Plot" and "Cable Splicer." They drew increasingly on manuals 
based on the British colonial experience in Kenya and Northern Ireland, 
which teach the essential methodology of COINTELPRO under the 
rubric of "low-intensity warfare," and stress early intervention to neutral- 
ize potential opposition before it can take hold."^ 

While domestic covert operations were scaled down once the 
1960s upsurge had subsided (thanks in part to the success of COIN- 
TELPRO), they did not stop. In its April 27, 1971 directives disbanding 
COINTELPRO, the FBI provided for future covert action to continue 
"with tight procedures to ensure absolute security."''^ The results are 
apparent in the record of 1970s covert operations which have so far come 
to light: 



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22 Brian Glick 

The Native American Movement: 1970s FBI attacks on resurgent 
Native American resistance have been well documented by Ward Chur- 
chill and others.'''' In 1973, the Bureau led a paramilitary invasion of the 
Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota as American Indian Movement 
(AIM) activists gathered there for symbolic protests at Wounded Knee, 
the site of an earlier U.S. massacre of Native Americans. The FBI directed 
the entire 71-day siege, deploying federal marshals, U.S. Army person- 
nel, Bureau of Indian Affairs police, local GOONs (Guardians of the 
Oglala Nation, an armed tribal vigilante force), and a vast array of heavy 

In the following years, the FBI and its allies waged all-out war on 
AIM and the Native people. From 1973-76, they killed 69 residents of the 
tiny Pine Ridge reservation, a rate of political murder comparable to the 
first years of the Pinochet regime in Chile.''^ To justify such a reign of 
terror and undercut public protest against it, the Bureau launched a 
complementary program of psychological warfare. 

Central to this effort was a carefully orchestrated campaign to 
reinforce the already deeply ingrained myth of the "Indian savage." In 
one operation, the FBI fabricated reports that AIM "Dog Soldiers" 
planned widespread "sniping at tourists" and "burning of farmers" in 
South Dakota. The son of liberal U.S. Senator (and Arab-American 
activist) James Abourezk, was named as a "gunrunner," and the Bureau 
issued a nationwide alert picked up by media across the country. 

To the same end, FBI undercover operatives framed AIM members 
Paul "Skyhorse" Durant and Richard "Mohawk" Billings for the brutal 
murder of a Los Angeles taxi driver. A bogus AIM note taking credit for 
the killing was found pinned to a signpost near the murder site, along 
with a bundle of hair said to be the victim's "scalp. " Newspaper headlines 
screamed of "ritual murder" by "radical Indians." By the time the defen- 
dants were finally cleared of the spurious charges, many of AIM*s main 
financial backers had been scared away and its work among a major 
urban concentration of Native people was in ruin. 

In March 1975, a central perpetrator of this hoax, AIM*s national 
security chief Doug Durham, was unmasked as an undercover operative 
for the FBI. As AIM*s liaison with the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Of- 
fense Committee during the trials of Dennis Banks and other Native 
American leaders, Durham had routinely participated in confidential 
strategy sessions. He confessed to stealing organizational funds during 
his two years with AIM, and to setting up the arrest of AIM militants for 
actions he had organized. It was Durham who authored the AIM docu- 
ments that the FBI consistently cited to demonstrate the group's sup- 
posed violent tendencies. 


Prompted by Durham's revelations, the Senate Intelligence Com- 
mittee announced on June 23, 1975 that it would hold public hearings 
on FBI operations against AIM. Three days later, armed FBI agents 
assaulted an AIM house on the Pine Ridge reservation. When the smoke 
cleared, AIM activist Joe Stuntz Killsright and two FBI agents lay dead. 
The media, barred from the scene "to preserve the evidence," broadcast 
the Bureau's false accounts of a bloody "Indian ambush," and the 
congressional hearings were quietly cancelled. 

The FBI was then free to crush AIM and clear out the last pockets 
of resistance at Pine Ridge. It launched what the Chairman of the U.S. 
Civil Rights Commission described as "a full-scale military-type invasion 
of the reservation"'^ complete with M-l6s, Huey helicopters, tracking 
dogs, and armored personnel carriers. Eventually AIM leader Leonard 
Peltier was tried for the agents* deaths before a right-wing judge who 
met secretly with the FBI. AIM member Anna Mae Aquash was found 
murdered after FBI agents threatened to kill her unless she helped them 
to frame Peltier. Peltier's conviction, based on perjured testimony and 
falsified FBI ballistics evidence, was upheld on appeal. (The panel of 
federal judges included William Webster until the very day of his official 
appointment as Director of the FBI.) Despite mounting evidence of 
impropriety in Peltier's trial, and Amnesty International's call for a review 
of his case, the Native American leader remains in maximum security 

The Black Movement: Government covert action against Black 
activists also continued in the 1970s. Targets ranged from community- 
based groups to the Provisional Government of the Republic of New 
Afrika and the surviving remnants of the Black Panther Party. 

In Mississippi, federal and state agents attempted to discredit and 
disrupt the United League of Marshall County, a broad-based grassroots 
civil rights group struggling to stop Klan violence. In California, a 
notorious paid operative for the FBI, Darthard Perry, code-named 
"Othello," infiltrated and disrupted local Black groups and took personal 
credit for the fire that razed the Watts Writers Workshop's multi-million 
dollar cultural center in Los Angeles in 1973. The Los Angeles Police 
Department later admitted infiltrating at least seven 1970s community 
groups, including the Black-led Coalition Against Police Abuse.^^ 

In the mid-1970s, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and 
Firearms (ATF) conspired with the Wilmington, North Carolina police to 
frame nine local civil rights workers and the Rev. Ben Chavis, field 
organizer for the Commission for Racial Justice of the United Church of 
Christ. Chavis had been sent to North Carolina to help Black communities 
respond to escalating racist violence against school desegregation. In- 

24 Brian GlJck 

Stead of arresting Klansmen, the ATF and police coerced three young 
Black prisoners into falsely accusing Chavis and the others of burning 
white-owned property. Although all three prisoners later admitted they 
had lied in response to official threats and bribes, the FBI found no 
impropriety. The courts repeatedly refused to reopen the case and the 
Wilmington Ten served many years in prison before pressure from 
international religious and human rights groups won their release.^ 

As the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) began to build autonomous 
Black economic and political institutions in the deep South, the Bureau 
repeatedly disrupted its meetings and blocked its attempts to buy land. 
On August 18, 1971, four months after the supposed end of COIN- 
TELPRO, the FBI and police launched an armed pre-dawn assault on 
national RNA offices in Jackson, Mississippi. Carrying a warrant for a 
fugitive who had been brought to RNA Headquarters by FBI informer 
Thomas Spells, the attackers concentrated their fire where the informer's 
floor plan indicated that RNA President Imari Obadele slept. Though 
Obadele was away at the time of the raid, the Bureau had him arrested 
and imprisoned on charges of conspiracy to assault a government 

The COINTELPRO-triggered collapse of the Black Panthers' or- 
ganization and support in the winter of 1971 left them defenseless as the 
government moved to prevent them from regrouping. On August 21, 
1971, national Party officer George Jackson, world-renowned author of 
the political autobiography Soledad Brother, was murdered by San 
Quentin prison authorities on the pretext of an attempted jailbreak.* In 
July 1972, Southern California Panther leader Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt 
was successfully framed for a senseless $70 robbery-murder committed 
while he was hundreds of miles away in Oakland, California, attending 
Black Panther meetings for which the FBI managed to "lose" all of its 
surveillance records. Documents obtained through the Freedom of 
Information Act later revealed that at least two FBI agents had infiltrated 
Pratt's defense committee. They also indicated that the state's main 
witness, Julio Butler, was a paid informer who had worked in the Party 
under the direction of the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department. 
For many years, FBI Director Webster publicly denied that Pratt had ever 
been a COINTELPRO target, despite the documentary proof in his own 
agency's records.'* 

Also targeted well into the 1970s were former Panthers assigned to 
form an underground to defend against armed government attack on the 
Party. It was they who had regrouped as the Black Liberation Army (BLA) 
when the Party was destroyed. FBI files show that, within a month of the 
close of COINTELPRO, further Bureau operations against the BLA were 


mapped out in secret meetings convened by presidential aide John 
Ehrlichman and attended by President Nixon and Attorney General 
Mitchell. In the following years, many former Panther leaders were 
murdered by the police in supposed "shoot-outs" with the BLA. Others, 
such as Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur, Dhoruba Al-Mujahid Bin Wahad 
(formerly Richard Moore), and the New York 3 (Herman Bell, Anthony 
"Jalil" Bottom, and Albert "Nuh" Washington) were sentenced to long 
prison terms after rigged trials." 

In the case of the New York 3, FBI ballistics reports withheld during 
their mid-1970s trials show that bullets from an alleged murder weapon 
did not match those found at the site of the killings for which they are 
still serving life terms. The star witness against them has publicly 
recanted his testimony, swearing that he lied after being tortured by 
police (who repeatedly jammed an electric cattleprod into his testicles) 
and secretly threatened by the prosecutor and judge. The same judge 
later dismissed petitions to reopen the case, refusing to hold any hearing 
or to disqualify himself, even though his misconduct is a major issue. As 
the NY3 continued to press for a new trial, their evidence was ignored 
by the news media while their former prosecutor's one-sided, racist 
"docudrama" on the case. Badge of the Assassin, aired on national 

The Chicano and Puerto Rican Movements: From 1972-1974, 
La Raza Unida Party of Texas was plagued with repeated, unsolved 
COINTELPRO-style political break-ins.^'^ Former government operative 
Eustacio "Frank" Martinez has admitted that after the close of COIN- 
TELPRO, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) paid 
him to help destroy La Casa de Camalisimo, a Chicano community 
anti-drug program in Los Angeles. Martinez, who had previously in- 
filtrated the Brown Berets and the Chicano Moratorium, stated that the 
ATF directed him to provoke bombings and plant a drug pusher in La 

In 1973, Chicano activist and lawyer Francisco "Kiko" Martinez was 
indicted in Colorado on trumped-up bombing charges and suspended 
from the bar. He was forced to leave the United States for fear of 
assassination by police directed to shoot him "on sight." When Martinez 
was eventually brought to trial in the 1980s, many of the charges against 
him were dropped for insufficient evidence and local juries acquitted 
him of others. One case ended in a mistrial when it was found that the 
judge had met secretly with prosecutors, police, and government wit- 
nesses to plan pequred testimony, and had conspired with the FBI to 
conceal video cameras in the courtroom.'^ 

26 Brian Glick 

Starting in 1976, the FBI manipulated the grand jury process to 
assault both the Chicano and Puerto Rican movements. Under the guise 
of investigating Las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion National 
Puertorriqueno (FALN) and other Puerto Rican urban guerrillas, the 
Bureau harassed and disrupted a cultural center, an alternative high 
school, and other promising community organizing efforts in Chicago's 
Puerto Rican barrio and in the Chicano communities of Denver and 
northern New Mexico. It subpoenaed radical Puerto Rican trade union 
leader Federico Cintron Fiallo and key staff of the National Commission 
on Hispanic Affairs of the U.S. Episcopal Church to appear before federal 
grand juries and jailed them for refusing to cooperate. The independent 
labor movement in Puerto Rico and the Commission's important work 
in support of Puerto Rican and Chicano organizing were effectively 

On July 25, 1978, an undercover agent lured two young Puerto 
Rican independence activists, Carlos Soto Arrivi and Arnaldo Dario 
Rosado, to their deaths in a police ambush at Cerro Maravilla, Puerto 
Rico. The agent, Alejandro Gonzalez Malave, worked under the direct 
supervision of the FBI-trained intelligence chief of the island's police 
force. The FBI refused to investigate when the police claimed they were 
merely returning gunfire initiated by the activists. Later it was proved that 
Soto and Dario had surrendered and were then beaten and shot dead 
while on their knees. Though a number of officers were found guilty of 
perjury in the cover-up and one was sentenced for the murder, the 
officials who set up the operation remain free. Gonzalez has been 

On November 11, 1979, Angel Rodriguez Cristobal, popular 
socialist leader of the movement to stop U.S. Navy bombing practice on 
the inhabited Puerto Rican island of Vieques, was murdered in the U.S. 
penitentiary in Tallahassee, Florida. Though U.S. authorities claimed 
"suicide," Rodriguez Cristobal, in the second month of a six-month term 
for civil disobedience, had been in good spirits when seen by his lawyer 
hours before his death. He had been subjected to continuous threats and 
harassment, including forced drugging and isolation, during his confine- 
ment. Though he was said to have been found hanging by a bed sheet, 
there was a large gash on his forehead and blood on the floor of his cell.^^ 

The Women's, Gay, and Lesbian Movements: FBI documents 
show that the women's liberation movement remained a major target of 
covert operations throughout the 1970s. Long after the official end of 
COINTELPRO, the Bureau continued to infiltrate and disrupt feminist 
organizations, publications, and projects. Its view of thfe women's move- 
ment is revealed by a 1^73 report listing the national women's 


newspaper off our hacks as "ARMED AND DANGEROUS— EX- 

Covert operations also continued against lesbian and gay organiz- 
ing. One former FBI informer, Earl Robert "Butch" Merritt, revealed that 
from October 1971 through June 1972 he received a weekly stipend to 
infiltrate gay publications and organizations in the District of Columbia. 
He was ordered to conduct break-ins, spread false rumors that certain 
gay activists were actually police or FBI informants, and create racial 
dissension between and within groups . One assignment involved calling 
Black groups to tell them they would not be welcome at Gay Activists 
Alliance and Gay Liberation Front meetings. ^^ 

As in the case of the Puerto Rican and Chicano movements, 
criminal investigations provided a convenient pretext for escalated FBI 
attacks on lesbian and feminist activists in the mid-1970s. In purported 
pursuit of anti-war fugitives Susan Saxe and Kathy Powers, FBI agents 
flooded the women's communities of Boston, Philadelphia, Lexington 
(Kentucky), Hartford and New Haven. Their conspicuous interrogation 
of hundreds of politically active women, followed by highly publicized 
grand jury subpoenas and jailings, wreaked havoc in health collectives 
and other vital projects. Activists and potential supporters were scared 
off, and fear spread across the country, hampering women's and lesbian 
organizing nationally .^^ 

The Anti-war and New Left Movements: Government covert 
action against the New Left and anti-war movements also persisted, 
especially as activists mobilized to protest the 1972 Republican and 
Democratic Party conventions. In San Diego, where the Republicans 
initially planned to convene, this campaign culminated in the January 6, 
1972 attempt on the life of anti-convention organizer Peter Bohmer by 
a "Secret Army Organization" of ex-Minutemen formed, subsidized, 
armed, and protected by the FBI.^^ 

Movement organizing and government sabotage continued when 
the Republican convention was moved to Miami Beach, Florida. In May 
1972, Bill Lemmer, Southern Regional Coordinator of Vietnam Veterans 
Against the War (WAW), a key group in the convention protest coali- 
tion, surfaced as an undercover FBI operative. Lemmer's false testimony 
enabled the Bureau to haul the WAWs national leadership before a 
grand jury hundreds of miles away during the week of the convention.^ 

FBI efforts to put the WAW "out of business" were later confirmed 
by another ex-operative. Joe Burton of Tampa, Florida, told the New York 
Times "that between 1972 and 1974 he worked as a paid FBI operative 
assigned to infiltrate and disrupt various radical groups in this country 
and Canada." Burton described how specialists were flown in from FBI 

28 Brian Glick 

Headquarters to help him forge bogus documents and "establish a 'sham' 
political group, 'the Red Star Cadre,' for disruptive purposes."^^ 

The same article reported that "two other former FBI operatives, 
Harry E. Schafer, 3d, and his wife, Jill, told of similar disruptive activity 
they undertook at the bureau's direction during the same period." 
Working out of "a similar bogus New Orleans front group, termed the 
'Red Collective,'" the Schafers boasted of diverting substantial funds 
which had been raised to support the American Indian Movement. 

The Labor Movement: One of agent provocateur ]oe Burton's 
main targets was the United Electrical Workers Union (UE). The FBI 
falsified records to get Burton into UE Tampa Local 1201 soon after its 
successful 1973 organizing drive upset the Westinghouse Corporation's 
plan to develop a chain of non-union plants in the South. Burton's attacks 
on genuine activists repeatedly disrupted UE meetings. His ultra-left 
proclamations in the union's name antagonized newly organized 
workers and gave credibility to the company's red-baiting. Burton also 
helped the FBI move against the United Farm Workers and the American 
Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).^ 

In the mid-1970s, the FBI was instrumental in covering up the 
murder of labor activist Karen Silkwood and the theft of her files 
documenting the radioactive contamination of workers at the Kerr- 
McGee nuclear fuel plant near Oklahoma City. Silkwood, elected to the 
Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers local bargaining committee, had 
amassed proof that the company was falsifying safety reports to hide 
widespread exposure to dangerous levels of highly carcinogenic 
plutonium. She was killed when her car crashed into a concrete embank- 
ment en route to a November 13, 1974 meeting with New York Times 
reporter David Bumham. Her files were never recovered from the wreck. 
While prominent independent experts concluded that Silkwood's car 
was bumped from behind and forced off the road, the FBI found that 
she fell asleep at the wheel after overdosing on quaaludes and that she 
never had any files. It quickly closed the case, and helped Kerr-McGee 
sabotage congressional investigations and posthumously slander 
Silkwood as a mentally unstable drug addict. Key to the smear campaign 
were articles and testimony by Jacque Srouji, a Tennessee journalist 
secretly in the employ of the FBI, who later confessed to having served 
in a long string of 1960s COINTELPRO operations.^^ 

In 1979, government operatives played key roles in the massacre 
of communist labor organizers during a multi-racial anti-Klan march in 
Greensboro, North Carolina. Heading the KKK/Nazi death squad was 
Ed Dawson, a long-time paid FBI/police informer in the Klan. Leading 
the local American Nazi Party branch into Dawson's "United Racist Front" 


was U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms undercover agent 
Bernard Butkovich. Though their controlling agencies were fully warned 
of the Front's murderous plans, they did nothing to protect the 
demonstrators. Instead, the police gave Dawson a copy of the march 
route and withdrew as his caravan moved in for the kill. Dawson's 
sharpshooters carefully picked off key cadre of the Communist Workers 
Party (CWP), including the president and president-elect of two Amal- 
gamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union locals, an organizer at a 
third local mill, and a leader of AFSCME's organizing drive at a nearby 
medical center. In the aftermath, the FBI attempted to cover up the 
government's role and to put the blame on the CWP.^ 

At the turn of the decade, the Bureau joined with Naval Intelligence 
and the San Diego Police to neutralize a militant multi-racial union at the 
shipyards of the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, a major U.S. 
naval contractor. The Bureau paid Ramon Barton to infiltrate Iron- 
workers Local 627 when it elected leftist officers and began to publicly 
protest dangerous working conditions. After an explosion from a gas 
leak killed two workers. Barton lured three others into helping him build 
a bomb and transport it in his van, where they were arrested. Though 
the workers entrapped by Barton were not union officials and were 
acquitted of most charges by a San Diego jury, the Ironworkers Interna- 
tional used their trial as a pretext for placing the local in trusteeship and 
expelling its elected officers.^^ 

• Domestic Covert Action Has Persisted 
Throi^out the 1980s 

All this and more occurred during a period of liberal reform, when 
political activism had somewhat subsided. The 1980s, by contrast, have 
been marked by the rise of right-wing political power and new forms of 
popular opposition to reactionary government policy. Under these con- 
ditions, the danger of domestic covert action is greater than ever. 

One indication of the severity of the current threat is the level of 
recent political repression. The incidents reviewed in the Introduction 
are marked by the kind of blatant harassment that was consistently used 
in conjunction with COINTELPRO: offices of churches and groups 
opposing U.S. Central America policy conspicuously burglarized; per- 
sonal papers of international travelers confiscated by U.S. customs upon 
their return at the border; dissidents facing deportation for their political 
views; activists hounded at their jobs and in their communities, hauled 
before grand juries, and arrested and jailed on false charges. 

30 Brian Glick 

Even more alarming is the amount of current covert activity that 
has come to light. Since the vast majority of COINTELPRO-type opera- 
tions stay hidden until long after the damage has been done, those we 
are already aware of represent only the tip of the iceberg. Far more is 
sure to lurk beneath the surface. 

Most of today's domestic covert action can be kept concealed 
because full government secrecy has been restored. The Freedom of 
Information Act, a source of major disclosures about COINTELPRO, was 
drastically narrowed in the 1980s through administrative and judicial 
reinterpretation as well as legislative amendment. Thousands of govern- 
ment files were shielded from public scrutiny under presidential direc- 
tives that vastly expand the range of information classified "top-secret." 
Government employees now face censorship even after they retire, and 
new laws make it a federal crime to disclose "any information that 
identifies an individual as a covert agent. "^° 

While restoring full secrecy, the Reagan administration invested 
covert action with a new legitimacy. In the past, such operations were 
acknowledged to be improper and illegal. The Senate Intelligence 
Committee condemned COINTELPRO as "a sophisticated vigilante 
operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment 
rights of speech and association."^^ From its inception, the CIA was 
barred by law from performing "internal security functions."^ Top 
government officials took care to insulate themselves so they could deny 
involvement if an unseemly operation came to light. These conditions 
established a kind of speed limit, a set of restrictions which the agencies 
fek free to exceed, but only by a certain margin. 

In the 1980s even this ceiling was lifted. Reagan and his cohorts 
openly embraced the use of covert operations at home and abroad. They 
endorsed such action, legalized it, sponsored it, and raised it to the level 
of patriotic virtue. 

Within months of taking office, Reagan pardoned W. Mark Fek and 
Edward S. Miller, the only FBI officials convicted of COINTELPRO 
crimes. His congressional allies publicly honored these criminals and 
praised their work.^^ The President continually revived the tired old Red 
Scare, adding a new "terrorist" bogeyman, while Attorney General Meese 
campaigned to narrow the scope of the Bill of Rights and limit judicial 
review of the constitutionality of government action. 

From the National Security Council's offices in the White House 
basement, Lt. Col. Oliver North proudly funded and orchestrated break- 
ins and other "dirty tricks" to defeat congressional critics of U.S. policy 
in Central America and neutralize grassroots protest. He ran elaborate 
networks of paper organizations set up by former government covert 


Operatives who regrouped to do the same work for more money in the 
"private sector. " Special Prosecutor Walsh found evidence that North and 
Retired Air Force Gen. Richard Secord (architect of 1960s U.S. covert 
action in Cambodia) used Iran-Contra funds to harass the Christie In- 
stitute, a church-funded public interest law group which specializes in 
exposing government misconduct.^'* North also helped Reagan's cronies 
at the Federal Emergency Management Administration develop contin- 
gency plans for suspending the Constitution, establishing martial law, 
and holding political dissidents in concentration camps in the event of 
"national opposition against a U.S. military invasion abroad. "^^ 

Much of what was done outside the law under COINTELPRO has 
since been legalized by Executive Order No. 12333 (December 4, 1981) 
and new Attorney General's "Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeer- 
ing Enterprise and Domestic Security/Terrorism Investigations" (March 
7, 1983). For the first time in U.S. history, government infiltration "for the 
purpose of influencing the activity of domestic political organizations 
has received official sanction (E.0. 12333, §2.9). This prerogative is now 
extended to the FBI and anyone acting on its behalf. It provided a legal 
pretext for the Bureau's attacks on CISPES and other opponents of U.S. 
policy in Central America. 

The new executive order asserts the President's right to authorize 
CIA "special activities" (the official euphemism for covert operations) 
redefined to include activity anywhere "in support of national foreign 
policy objectives abroad" (§1.8(e), §3.4(h)). It legalizes "counterintel- 
ligence activities. . .within the United States" on the part of the FBI and 
the CIA, Army, Navy, Air Force, andMarines (§1.8(c), §1. 12(d)). "Special- 
ized equipment, technical knowledge, or assistance of expert personnel" 
may be provided by any of these agencies "to support local law enfor- 
cement" (§2.6c). All are free to mount electronic and mail surveillance 
without a warrant, and the FBI may also conduct warrantless "uncon- 
sented physical searches" (break-ins) if the Attorney General finds 
probable cause to believe the action is "directed against a foreign power 
or an agent of a foreign power" (§2.4, §2.5). This signals open season on 
CISPES, sanctuary churches, anti-apartheid groups, and anyone else 
who maintains friendly relations with a country or movement opposed 
by the administration or who dares to organize protest against U.S. 
foreign policy. 

Given how much is at stake, we can hardly afford to ignore these 
many signs of danger. The FBI and police have now been fully 
rehabilitated. The CIA and military have assumed an expanded 
homefront role. Covert action has been legalized and endorsed at the 
highest levels of government. Official secrecy has been restored. 


Brian Click 

9u4r 1^0X4-^^0^. 

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Government harassment of domestic dissidents continues unabated. 
Evidence of current infiltration and clandestine disruption is surfacing at 
an alarming rate. Taken together, these developments leave us only one 
safe assumption: full-scale covert operations are already underway to 
neutralize today's opposition movements before they can reach the 
massive level of the 1960s. 

• Domestic Covert Action Has Become a 
Permanent Feature of U.S. Government 

So long as conservative Republicans remain in power, there is no 
reason to expect this threat to subside. But what if liberal Democrats 
were in control? Recent U.S. history indicates that so far as covert 
operations are concerned, the difference would be marginal at best. 

The record of the past 50 years reveals a pattern of continuous 
domestic covert action. Its use has been documented in each of the last 
nine administrations. Democratic as well as Republican. FBI testimony 
shows "COINTELPRO tactics" already in full swing during the presiden- 
cies of Democrats Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman.^^ COIN- 
TELPRO itself, while initiated under Eisenhower, grew from one 
program to six under the Democratic administrations of Kennedy and 
Johnson. It flourished when an outspoken liberal, Ramsey Clark, was 
Attorney General (1966-1968). After COINTELPRO was exposed, similar 
programs continued under other names during the Carter years as well 
as under Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. They have outlived J. Edgar Hoover 
and remained in place under all of his successors. 

Covert police methods have been used against progressive social 
movements since the founding of the country. Undercover operatives 
disrupted the historic efforts of rebel slaves and Native American, 
Mexican, and Puerto Rican resistance. Dissident journalists, insurgent 
workers, and rebellious farmers were arrested on false charges and jailed 
or hung after rigged trials.^ 

Through most of U.S. history, progressive activists faced the blatant 
brutality of hired thugs and right-wing vigilantes backed by government 
troops. As the country grew more urban and industrial, newly formed 
municipal police forces came to play a greater role. By the turn of this 
century, local police departments were running massive anti-union 
operations in collaboration with the Pinkertons and other private detec- 
tive agencies.^® 

With World War I and the increasing national integration of the 
U.S. political economy, the federal government began to take more 

34 Brian Glick 

responsibility for control of domestic dissent. From 1917 on, the Justice 
Department's Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of the FBI, coor- 
dinated its work closely with a 250,000 member right-wing vigilante 
group, the American Protective League. Together they mounted nation- 
wide raids, arrests, and prosecutions which jailed thousands of draft 
resisters and labor activists and destroyed the Industrial Workers of the 
World (IWW, or "Wobblies")."^ Following the Russian Revolution, the 
Bureau helped foment the Red Scare of 1919-20. J. Edgar Hoover took 
personal responsibility for deporting "Red Emma" Goldman and direct- 
ing the Palmer Raids in which thousands of progressive immigrants were 
rounded up, jailed, and brutalized, and hundreds were deported.*' 

Stung by public criticism of these raids. Hoover switched to more 
covert methods in the early 1920s. His men infiltrated the ranks of striking 
railway workers and penetrated the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee 
to steal funds raised to support the indicted anarchists.®^ In an operation 
that prefigured COINTELPRO, Hoover masterminded the destruction of 
the main Black movement of the post-World War I period, Marcus 
Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). His agents 
penetrated the multi-million member UNIA and set up the federal mail 
fraud conviction that discredited its charismatic leader, leading to 
Garvey's deportation and the group's collapse.^ 

Through the rest of the 1920s, the Bureau kept a low profile as 
domestic insurgency subsided. In the early years of the Depression, 
primary responsibility for policing dissent remained in the hands of local 
law enforcement agencies, private detectives, and right-wing groups 
such as the American Legion. Meanwhile, Hoover and the FBI rose to 
national prominence by leading a widely heralded "War on Crime . " Their 
capture of John Dillinger and other notorious desperados made head- 
lines across the country. The Bureau was glorified in Hollywood films 
and an immensely popular radio series. The media portrayed the FBI as 
invincible and proclaimed J. Edgar Hoover "Public Hero Number One."®^ 

This new stature positioned the Bureau to regain its status as the 
nation's political police. In 1936, it won secret authorization to once 
again target "subversive activities in the United States." In a memo to his 
subordinates. Hoover attributed this coup to confidential "information" 
he had presented to President Roosevelt showing that "the Com- 
munists... practically controlled" at least one key industrial union and 
were moving to "get control oP others.^ 

The FBI vastly expanded its operations during World War II and 
acquired new covert technology, including the capacity for expert 
forgery. In the aftermath of the war, as the United States began to exercise 
hegemonic world power and to identify the Soviet Union as its main 


enemy, the Bureau firmly established its political role as an accepted 
institutional reality. The Senate Intelligence Committee later found that 
it was in this period, well before the start of COINTELPRO, that "the 
domestic intelligence programs of the FBI. . .became permanent features 
of government."*^ 

The Committee attributes the Bureau's ability to consolidate politi- 
cal police powers to the "Cold War fears" which swept the country during 
the late 1940s and the 1950s, but it skips over the Bureau's central role 
in fomenting those fears. FBI Director Hoover openly threw his enor- 
mous public prestige behind the postwar witchhunts mounted by the 
House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Joseph 
McCarthy's Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee. Directed by law to 
investigate the loyalty of federal employees, the FBI secretly passed 
confidential raw files to its congressional allies, especially McCarthy and 
the rising young star of HUAC, Richard Nixon.^ 

Above all. Hoover and his men set up and orchestrated the pivotal 
spy trials that made the witchhunts credible. In 1950, former high-rank- 
ing State Department official Alger Hiss, President of the Carnegie 
Endowment for International Peace, was found guilty of perjury for 
denying that he had copied confidential government papers for the 
Soviet Union in the late 1930s. In 1951, U.S. communists Ethel and Julius 
Rosenberg and Morton Sobell were convicted, and the Rosenbergs 
executed, for allegedly passing to the Soviet Union "atomic secrets" that 
were already general scientific knowledge. In each case, the star witness 
was an informer whose initial contradictory accounts were meshed into 
semi-coherent testimony only after months of careful FBI coaching. In 
each, the supposedly incorruptible FBI vouched for the authenticity of 
key documentary evidence which activists later learned could easily 
have been forged.*^ 

Subsequent investigation and analysis suggest that both cases may 
well have been fabricated. At the time, however, their impact was 
devastating. By appearing to validate the witchhunts, they paved the way 
for the purge of an entire generation of radicals from U.S. political and 
cultural life. 

In this atmosphere of anti-communist hysteria, as in the preceding 
years of wartime fear of espionage, the FBI was free to move against a 
broad range of domestic political movements. It took an occasional 
swipe at the right wing and managed to arrest a few outright Nazi 
saboteurs. As always, however, the brunt of its attack was directed 
against those who sought progressive social change. 

The Senate Intelligence Comjnittee documented long-standing, 
pre-COINTELPRO FBI infiltration of industrial unions, major Black or- 

36 Brian Click 

ganizations (including the NAACP and the Nation of Islam), the un- 
employed movement, the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, and at least 
one group of reform Democrats (the Independent Voters of Illinois).^ 
Documents later obtained under the Freedom of Infonnation Act reveal 
FBI undercover operations in the late 1940s against the third party 
presidential candidacy of former Vice President Henry Wallace, the 
pro-Wallace American Labor Party (ALP), and U.S. Congressman Vito 
Marcantonio (D/ALP-NY).®^ Other Bureau memoranda show the col- 
laboration of Ronald Reagan, "Confidential Informant T-10," in FBI 
maneuvers to oust leftists from the Screen Actors Guild and the Hol- 
lywood film industry.^ Bureau targets during the late 1940s and early 
1950s also included the National Lawyers Guild and the American 
Friends Service Committee, as well as the Mattachine Society, the 
Daughters of Bilitis, and other early gay and lesbian rights groups.^^ 

From the outset, these groups faced far more than mere surveil- 
lance. From 1936-56, the FBI took advantage of wartime fears and 
postwar hysteria to slip into place the domestic covert operations later 
consolidated under COINTELPRO. Ex-agents' report that activists' 
homes and offices were routinely burglarized during these years.^^ As 
early as 1939, the Bureau began to compile a secret "Security Index" 
listing subversives to be detained in the event of a "national emergen- 
cy."^^ William Sullivan, former head of the FBI Intelligence Division, 
testified that, "We were engaged in COINTELPRO tactics, to divide, 
confuse, weaken, in diverse ways, an organization. We were engaged 
in that when I entered the Bureau in 1941."^ The Senate Intelligence 
Committee found that by 1946 the Bureau had a "policy" of preparing 
and disseminating "propaganda" to "discredit" its targets.^ 

Thus, COINTELPRO was not a radical departure. It merely central- 
ized and intensified long-standing FBI policy and practice. The 1956 
directive setting up the new program took as its starting point the historic 
record of Bureau work "to foster factionalism, bring the Communist Party 
and its leaders into disrepute before the American public, and cause 
confusion and dissatisfaction among rank-and-file members." It called 
for a better coordinated, more focused, "all-out disruptive attack" to 
make up for new judicial restrictions on political prosecutions and to 
eliminate once and for all a U.S. left already in disarray.^ 

Conceived as a mid-1950s coup de grace 2igzmsi a failing Old Left, 
COINTELPRO became the cutting edge of the Bureau's attack on the 
rising struggles of the 1960s. It provided the framework for operations 
against the resurgent Black movement whose first audible rumblings, in 
the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, may explain the urgency 
of the Bureau's drive to do away with what remained of an organized 


radical presence in the United States. It also formed the FBI's primary 
response to the student and anti-war protests which swept the country 
during the 1960s. 

COINTELPRO grew increasingly important as the traditional 
modes of repression failed. An undaunted new generation of activists 
made a laughing stock of HUAC and turned criminal trials into political 
forums. Although brute force ultimately did contribute to their demise, 
for most of the decade police beatings served only to stiffen resistance 
and to help win over the millions who watched on television. 

Reviewing the Bureau's experience with domestic covert action as 
of 1964, J. Edgar Hoover concluded that: 

These ideas will not be increased in number or improved upon from 
the standpoint of accomplishments merely through the institution of 
a program such as COINTELPRO which is given another name, and 
which, in fact, only encompasses everything that has been done in the 
past or will be done in the future.^ 

True to his words. Hoover did continue domestic covert action under 
"another name" when he eventually had to shut down COINTELPRO. 
Fearing public exposure, the FBI reverted to the less centralized, more 
secure procedures of the previous era, but the basic approach persisted. 

Over the past 50 years, clandestine work has become an essential 
part of the Bureau's mode of operation. Many of its senior agents are 
now specialists whose professional advancement requires that the 
government continue to rely on covert action. A similar group of "old 
hands" has emerged from the covert operations that the United States 
and its European allies developed in an effort to maintain control of their 
colonies and neo-colonies in countries such as Algeria, the Congo, India, 
Northern Ireland, Chile, and Vietnam. With Hoover's death and 
Webster's ascendancy at the FBI and then the CIA, the two sets of spies 
came gradually to coordinate and integrate their work. 

The combined experience of these veteran covert operatives has 
given rise to a growing literature and theory of counter-insurgency. Their 
widely circulated texts and manuals restate the basic precepts of COIN- 
TELPRO and pound home the necessity for continuous covert opera- 
tions. The leading treatise, Low-Intensity Operations: Subversion, 
Insurgencyy and Peacekeeping, by Frank Kitson, British commander in 
Kenya, Malaysia, Cyprus, and Northern Ireland, insists that infiltration 
and "psychological operations" be mounted against dissident groups in 
"normal times," before any mass movement can develop.'® 

Careerism, old boy networks, theories, and treatises help to per- 
petuate domestic covert action. The persistence of such operations can 

38 Brian GUck 

be fully explained, however, only in terms of their value to economic 
and political elites. Any social order based on inequality of wealth and 
power depends, to some degree, on political repression to control the 
disadvantaged majority. Modem U.S. elites have particular need for 
covert measures because the war at home is primarily the responsibility 
of the federal government, a government which is under intense pres- 
sure to appear to be democratic. 

The federal government has become the main arm of domestic 
repression through a series of historic developments. First, internal 
political conflict has come to focus increasingly on issues of public 
policy. Second, business and industry, which once played a major role, 
now rely on the public sector for unprofitable support services — ^from 
post offices, airports, roads, and job training to the pacification of 
workers and markets at home and abroad. They are no longer willing to 
maintain a large-scale in-house apparatus for repressing societal political 
dissent or to purchase such services from private agencies. Finally, state 
and local governments lack the funds and personnel to cope with 
countrywide dissident movements. Federal coordination and direction 
is demanded by the national integration of the U.S. economy and culture, 
with its geographically mobile population and instant communication. 

For all these reasons, U.S. domestic political repression is now 
effectively nationalized. Local police may still be the foot soldiers for 
many arrests, raids, beatings, and infiltrations; college administrators, 
corporate security forces, and private right-wing groups may also help 
out. But when it comes to full-scale strategic, coordinated domestic 
counter-insurgency, only "the Feds" can do the job. 

But the federal government has other imperatives. It strives to 
maintain U.S. control over world markets and resources in an era when 
most of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have been legally decolonized. 
It competes internationally with the Soviet Union, Germany, and Japan. 
At the same time, it needs patriotic support, or at least passive acquies- 
cence, at home. For all these purposes, it must effectively promote the 
image of the United States as leader of the "free world," complete with 
free speech and the rule of law. 

If the U.S. government is seen as unduly repressive within its own 
borders, however, it will have trouble maintaining the allegiance of its 
citizenry and competing effectively for world influence. It can sustain its 
legitimacy, while effectively marginalizing or eliminating domestic dis- 
sent, if it makes the victims of official violence appear to be the aggres- 
sors and provokes dissident movements to tear themselves apart through 
factionalism and other modes of self-destruction. No wonder covert 
action is here to stay. 


What We Can Do About 
Domestic Covert Action 

We obviously cannot stop domestic covert action simply by elect- 
ing better public officials, passing stronger laws, or winning court cases. 
Clandestine repression will end only with the elimination of the race, 
gender, class, and international domination it serves to uphold. 
Meanwhile, it severely undermines our ability to build the broad-based 
movements needed to win fundamental change. To organize and sustain 
such movements, we have to learn how to deal with domestic covert 
action in a way that minimizes its interference with our work. 

There are two complementary means to this end. The first ap- 
proach requires work within our movements. It is essential that we leam 
to recognize the methods of covert action and take steps to reduce their 
impact on our work. The second approach involves organizing publicly 
to expose and oppose the government's continued reliance on those 
methods. Though domestic covert action cannot be eliminated without 
more systemic change, we do have the capacity to substantially limit and 
weaken it. 

• Learning the Methods of COBVTELPRO and 
How to Protect Ourseh^es Against Them 

Though the details of future covert action will be adapted to 
changing social and technological conditions, only a limited number of 
basic methods and approaches exist. Like chess masters and military 
strategists who hone their skills by replaying old contests, we can 
improve our ability to defend against these modes of attack through close 
study of recent history. If we understand how the FBI and police moved 
in the past, we will be better able to recognize and avoid their future 
tricks and traps. If we grasp the mistakes of earlier movements, we can 
take essential precautions now without encouraging paranoia or divert- 
ing attention from our main goals. 


40 Brian Click 


1. Check out the authenticity of any disturbing letter, rumor, phone call, 
or other communication before acting on it. Ask the supposed source if 
she or he is responsible. 

2. Keep records of incidents which appear to reflect COINTELPRO-type 
activity. Evaluate your response and report your experiences to lie 
Movement Support Network and other groups that document repression 
and resistance around the country. (See page 92.) 

3. Deal openly and honestly with the differences within our movements 
(race, gender, class, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, 
personality, experience, physical and intellectual capacities, etc.) before 
the FBI and police can exploit them. 

4. Don't try to expose a suspected agent or informer without solid proof. 
Purges based on mere suspicion only help the FBI and police create 
distrust and paranoia. It generally works better to criticize what a disrup- 
tive person says and does, without speculating as to why. 

5. Support all movement activists who come under government attack. 
Don't be put off by political slander, such as recent attempts to smear 
some militant opponents of government policy as "terrorists." Organize 
public opposition to all FBI witchhunts, grand jury subpoenas, political 
trials, and other forms of government and right-wing harassment. 

6. Cultivate relationships with sympathetic journalists who seem willing 
to investigate and publicize domestic covert operations. Let them know 
when you are harassed. Since the FBI and police thrive on secrecy, public 
exposure can undermine their ability to subvert our work. 

7. Don't try to tough it out alone. Don't let others fret and suffer by 
themselves. Make sure that activists who are under extreme stress get the 
help they need (someone to talk with, rest, therapy, etc.). It is crucial that 
we build support networks and take care of one another. 

8. Above all, do not let our movements be diverted from their main goals. 
Our most powerful weapon against political repression is effective or- 
ganizing around the needs and issues which directly affect people's lives. 

The specific methods of covert action which we know the FBI and 
police used in the 1960s are described below, under the categories of: 
(1) infiltration by agents and informers; (2) psychological warfare from 
the outside; (3) harassment through the legal system; and (4) extralegal 
force and violence. The following recommendations for protecting 
against each type of attack are meant to provide starting points for 
discussion. They are based on the author's 25 years of experience as an 
activist and lawyer, and on talks with long-time organizers from a broad 
range of movements. By adapting these guidelines to particular condi- 


tions and experimenting with new approaches, we can determine 
together how best to protect our movements and ourselves. 

1. Infiltration by Agents and Informers 

Iniiltrators are agents (law enforcement officers disguised as ac- 
tivists) or informers (non-agents, often paid by the government) who 
work in a movement or community under the direction of a law enfor- 
cement or intelligence agency. Informers may be recruited from within 
a group or sent in by an agency, or they may be disaffected former 
members or supporters. They are generally untrained and hard for the 
agency to control. 

In the past, the FBI had to rely mainly on informers or local police 
infiltrators because it had very few Black, Latin, or female agents, and its 
strict dress and grooming code left white male agents unable to look like 
activists. As a modem "equal opportunity employer," today^s FBI has 
fewer such limitations. (As of 1988, however, its agents were still only 4 
percent Black, 4 percent Hispanic, and 9 percent female, and members 
of all three groups had sued the Bureau because of employment dis- 

COINTELPRO documents and the confessions of former agents 
and informers indicate that while some 1960s infiltrators operated under 
"deep cover," discreetly spying for years without calling attention to 
themselves, others functioned as provocateurs. These operatives were 
directed to "seize every opportunity to carry out disruptive activity not 
only at meetings, conventions, etc., but also during social and other 
contacts."^*" They spread rumors and made unfounded accusations to 
inflame disagreements among activists and provoke splits. They urged 
divisive proposals, sabotaged important activities, squandered scarce 
resources, stole funds, seduced leaders, exacerbated rivalries, provoked 
jealousy, and publicly embarrassed progressive groups. They repeatedly 
led zealous activists into unnecessary danger and set them up for 

While individual agents and informers advanced COINTELPRO 
objectives in these myriad ways, their very presence served a crucial 
strategic function: it promoted a paranoia that undermined trust among 
activists and scared off potential supporters. This effect was enhanced 
by covertly spread rumors exaggerating the extent to which a particular 
movement or group was infiltrated. As one close student of the FBI has 


Brian Glick 

It is not the information furnished by the spy that makes him a 
prized Bureau asset but the fact that he is there: a concealed hostile 
presence to instill fear. . . 

It is this . . . that accounts for the curious dualism in American infiltra- 
tion practice: while the identity of the individual informer is concealed, 
the fact that there is a widespread network of informers in the 
American left is widely publicized.^^^ 

The FBI often took advantage of the fear and distrust generated 
by this publicity to have its infiltrators claim that a dedicated activist was 


a government agent. This maneuver — ^known as placing a "snitch jacket" 
or "bad jacket" on an activist — ^serves to undermine the victim's effec- 
tiveness and to draw attention away from the actual agent. It generates 
confusion, fuels distrust and paranoia, diverts time and energy from a 
group's political work, turns co-workers against one another, and has 
provoked expulsions and violence. 

Under COINTELPRO, snitch jackets were created in many ways. 
Anti-war activist Tom Hayden was jacketed through a carefully or- 
chestrated series of news releases and newspaper articles prepared by 
the FBI and "cooperative" reporters. ^°^ Black Panther leader Huey New- 
ton was falsely labelled an informer in FBI-composed anonymous letters 
supposedly from fellow prisoners in Califomia.^^^ In other operations, 
the FBI arranged for police to release one member of a group that had 
been arrested together or to single one out for special treatment, and 
then spread the rumor that the beneficiary had cooperated. ^°^ The Senate 
Intelligence Committee uncovered a particularly creative method: 

In another case, a local police officer was used to "jacket" the head of 
the Student Mobilization Committee at the University of South 
Carolina. The police offiicer picked up two members of the Committee 
on the pretext of interviewing them concerning narcotics. By pre-ar- 
ranged signal, he had his radio operator call him with the message 
"[name of tareet] just called. Wants you to contact her. Said you have 

The simplest and most widely used snitch jacket technique consists 
of planting fabricated evidence which implicates the target. The classic 
version of this approach is portrayed in the movie "Matewan," where the 
actual labor spy shows striking miners a bogus letter addressed to the 
union organizer on the letterhead of the company's detective agency. A 
more sophisticated modem variant relies on forged reports from the 
target to a government agency. This method was employed in 1968 
against SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure), along with a 
"whispering campaign," to "tag Carmichael with a CIA label. "^°^ 

The modem method proved especially effective against a top 
national official of the Communist Party-USA, William Albertson. In 1964, 
the Bureau simulated Albertson's handwriting and prepared a bogus 
informer's report from him to his supposed controlling agent. An FBI 
infiltrator then planted the bogus report in a car in which Albertson had 
recently been a passenger. Wlien experts insisted that the writing was 
his, Albertson was expelled from the Party in disgrace.^°® 

44 Brian Glick 

Guidelines for Coping with Infiltration 

1. Be careful to avoid pushing a new or hesitant member, or one 
facing personal, financial, or legal problems, to take risks beyond what 
that person is ready to handle, particulariy in situations which could 
result in arrest and prosecution. People in positions of legal or other 
jeopardy have proven especially vulnerable to recruitment as informers. 

2. Deal openly with the form and content of what anyone says and 
does, whether the person is a suspected agent, has emotional problems, 
or is simply a sincere but naive or confused person new to the work. 

3. Establish a process through which anyone who suspects an 
infiltrator (or other covert intervention) can express his or her fears 
without scaring others. Experienced people assigned this responsibility 
can do a great deal to help a group maintain its morale and focus while, 
at the same time, consolidating information and deciding how to use it. 
This plan works best when accompanied by group discussion of the 
danger of paranoia, so that everyone understands the reasons for follow- 
ing the established procedure. 

4. Take steps to alert other activists any time an agent or informer 
admits their role or you have a concrete and verified basis for certain 
knowledge. (Make sure you have not been taken in by a snitch jacket.) 
Act immediately and use every available means, including photographs, 
aliases, identifying traits, and a description of methods of operation. In 
the 1960s, some agents managed, even after their exposure in one 
community, to move on and repeat their performance in others. 

5. Be very cautious in attempting to expose a suspected, but 
unadmitted, agent or informer. The best approach depends on the nature 
of your group. A close-knit, self-selecting group of experienced activists, 
especially one which contemplates illegal activity, should exclude 
anyone who is not fully trusted by everyone involved. If the stakes are 
high, don*t be afraid to trust your intuition. 

An open, public organization trying to reach out and involve new 
people faces a very different situation. Here, an attempted exposure 
carries enormous risks. The suspect may claim to be the victim of 
discrimination and may falsely finger his or her accusers as agents. In the 
process, activists may be turned against one another and lose the mutual 
trust and respect which is vital to any successful organization. New 
members and potential recruits may be scared away. The group*s atten- 
tion and energy may be so diverted that it is no longer able to move 
effectively toward its main goals. 

Activists who suspect infiltration of a public political organization 
should carefully evaluate alternatives to attempted exposure. The ap- 


propriate response depends on the kind of agent or informer you think 
you are dealing with. 

A suspect who seems to play a passive, or even a constructive role 
may secretly be undemiining a group's work or passing information to 
the FBI and police. In this situation, it often is most productive to 
discreetly limit the suspect's opportunities without making your 
suspicions public. Take steps to deny access to organizational funds, 
financial records, mailing lists, office equipment, planning and security 
committees, discussions of illegal activity, and meetings that plan 
criminal defense strategy. Go public if you later catch the person in the 
act (but not merely with incriminating evidence which could have been 
planted or forged). 

A different approach is required if the suspect is an active disrupter 
ox provocateur. In this case, it is most constructive to confront the form 
and content of what the suspect says and does, without making an issue 
of why he or she says or does it. Start with a discreet private talk, since 
the suspect could be merely naive or misguided. If the harmful behavior 
persists, you probably will have to take it on in an open group discussion. 
Plan in advance how to limit the risk of disruption and demoralization. 
If you need to exclude or expel the suspect, be sure to inform other 
activists of your decision and reasons. 

2. Psychological Warfare From the Outside 

While boring from within, the FBI and police also attack dissident 
movements from the outside. They openly mount propaganda cam- 
paigns through public addresses, news releases, books, pamphlets, 
magazine articles, radio, and television. They also use covert deception 
and manipulation. Documented tactics of this kind include: 

False Media Stories: COINTELPRO documents expose frequent 
collusion between news media personnel and the FBI to publish false 
and distorted material at the Bureau's behest. The FBI routinely leaked 
derogatory information to its collaborators in the news media. It also 
created newspaper and magazine articles and television "documen- 
taries" which the media knowingly or unknowingly carried as their own. 
Copies were sent anonymously or under bogus letterhead to activists' 
financial backers, employers, business associates, families, neighbors, 
church officials, school administrators, landlords, and whomever else 
might cause them trouble.^°^ 

One FBI media fabrication claimed that Jean Seberg, a white film 
star active in anti-racist causes, was pregnant by a prominent Black 
leader. The Bureau leaked the story anonymously to columnist Joyce 

46 Brian GUck 

Haber and also had it passed to her by a "friendly" source in the Los 
Angeles Times editorial staff. The item appeared without attribution in 
Haber's nationally syndicated column of May 19, 1970. Seberg's husband 
has sued the FBI as responsible for her resulting stillbirth, nervous 
breakdown, and suicide. "° 

Bogus Leaflets, Pamphlets, and Other Publications: COIN- 
TELPRO documents show ±at the FBI routinely put out phony leaflets, 
posters, pamphlets, newspapers, and other publications in the name of 
movement groups. The purpose was to discredit the groups and turn 
them against one another. 

FBI cartoon leaflets were used to divide and disrupt the main 
national anti-war coalition of the late 1960s. Similar fliers were circulated 
in 1968 and 1969 in the name of the Black Panthers and the United Slaves 
(US), a rival Black nationalist group based in Southern California. The 
phony Panther/US leaflets, together with other covert operations, were 
credited with subverting a fragile truce between the two groups and 
igniting an explosion of internecine violence that left four Panthers dead, 
many more wounded, and a once-flourishing regional Black movement 

Another major COINTELPRO operation involved a children's 
coloring book which the Black Panther Party had rejected as anti-white 
and gratuitously violent. The FBI revised the coloring book to make it 
even more offensive. Its field offices then distributed thousands of copies 
anonymously or under phony organizational letterheads. Many backers 
of the Party's program of free breakfasts for children withdrew their 
support after the FBI conned them into believing that the bogus coloring 
book was being used in the program."^ 

Forged Correspondence: Former employees have confirmed 
that the FBI has the capacity to produce state-of-the-art forgery."^ This 
capacity was used under COINTELPRO to create snitch jackets and 
bogus communications that exacerbated differences among activists and 
disrupted their work. 

One such forgery intimidated civil rights worker Muhamjned 
Kenyatta (Donald Jackson), causing him to abandon promising projects 
in Jackson, Mississippi. Kenyatta had foundation grants to form Black 
economic cooperatives and open a "Black and Proud School" for 
dropouts. He was also a student organizer at nearby Tougaloo College. 
In the winter of 1969, after an extended campaign of FBI and police 
harassment, Kenyatta received a letter, purportedly from the Tougaloo 
College Defense Committee, which "directed" that he cease his political 
activities immediately. If he did not "heed our diplomatic and well- 
thought-out warning," the committee would consider taking measures 


A key 1960s covert operation that fueled antagonism between 
emerging tendencies among progressive women did not come to light 
until almost 20 years later. When women speakers at the national 
counter-inaugural rally in 1969 raised issues of women's oppression, 
men in the audience had shouted them down and threatened sexual 
violence. Shaken by the incident, women activists met at the home of 
one of the speakers, Marilyn Webb, to analyze what had happened 
and decide whether to keep trying to work within the New Left. As 
they talked, the phone rang and a woman's voice threatened Webb: 
"If you or anybody else like you ever gives a speech like that again, 
we're going to beat the shit out of you. SDS has a line on women's 
liberation, and that is the line.'' 

The voice and content of the call made it appear to be from Cathy 
Wilkerson, a well-known SDS organizer who was in the same women's 
group as many of the women in the room. The women assumed that 
Wilkerson had, in fact, made the call, and the story spread across the 
country, provoking bitter anger. It was only at an SDS reunion in the 
summer of 1988, that Webb learned that neither Wilkerson nor any 
other SDS woman had made such a call."'' 

"which would have a more direct effect and which would not be as 
cordial as this note." Kenyatta and his wife left. Only years later did they 
learn it was not Tougaloo students, but FBI covert operators who had 
driven them out."^ 

Later in 1969, FBI agents fabricated a letter to the mainly white 
organizers of a proposed Washington, D.C. anti-war rally demanding 
that they pay the local Black community a $20,000 "security bond." This 
attempted extortion was composed in the name of the local Black United 
Front (BUF) and signed with the forged signature of its leader. FBI 
informers inside the BUF then tried to get the group to back such a 
demand, and Bureau contacts in the media made sure the story received 
wide publicity."^ 

The Senate Intelligence Committee uncovered a series of FBI 
letters sent to top Panther leaders throughout 1970 in the name of Connie 
Mathews, an intermediary between the Black Panther Party's national 
office and Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, in exile in Algeria. These 
exquisite forgeries were prepared on pilfered stationery in Panther 
vernacular expertly simulated by the FBI's Washington, D.C. laboratory. 
Each was forwarded to an FBI Legal Attache at a U. S . Embassy in a foreign 
country that Mathews was due to travel through and then posted at just 
the right time "in such a manner that it cannot be traced to the Bureau." 

48 Brian Glick 

The FBI enhanced the eerie authenticity of these fabrications by lacing 
them with esoteric personal tidbits culled from electronic surveillance of 
Panther homes and offices. Combined with other forgeries, anonymous 
letters and phone calls, and the covert intervention of FBI and police 
infiltrators, the Mathews correspondence succeeded in inflaming intra- 
party mistrust and rivalry until it erupted into the bitter public split that 
shattered the organization in the winter of 1971."^ 

Anonymous Letters and Telephone Calls: During the 1960s, 
activists received a steady flow of anonymous letters and phone calls 
which turn out to have been from the FBI. Some were unsigned, while 
others bore bogus names or purported to come from unidentified 
activists in phony or actual organizations."® 

Many of these bogus communications promoted racial divisions 
and fears, often by exploiting and exacerbating tensions between Jewish 
and Black activists. One such FBI-concocted letter went to SDS members 
who had joined Black students protesting New York University's dis- 
charge of a Black teacher in 1969. The supposed author, an unnamed 
"SDS member," urged whites to break ranks and abandon the Black 
students because of alleged anti-Semitic slurs by the fired teacher and 
his supporters."^ 

Other anonymous letters and phone calls falsely accused move- 
ment leaders of collaboration with the authorities, corruption, or sexual 
affairs with other activists' mates. The letter on the next page was used 
to provoke "a lasting distrust" between a Black civil rights leader and his 
wife. Its FBI authors hoped that his "concern over what to do about it" 
would "detract from his time spent in the plots and plans of his organiza- 
tion."*^ As in the Seberg incident, inter-racial sex was a persistent theme. 
The husband of one white woman active in civil rights and anti-war work 
filed for divorce soon after receiving the FBI-authored letter reproduced 
on page 50. 

Still other anonymous FBI communications were designed to 
intimidate dissidents, disrupt coalitions, and provoke violence. Calls to 
Stokely Carmichael's mother warning of a fictitious Black Panther mur- 
der plot drove him to leave the country in September 1968."* Similar 
anonymous FBI telephone threats to SNCC leader James Forman were 
instrumental in thwarting efforts to bring the two groups together.*^ 

The Chicago FBI made effective use of anonymous letters to 
sabotage the Panthers efforts to build alliances with previously apolitical 
Black street gangs. The most extensive of these operations involved the 
Black P. Stone Nation, or "Blackstone Rangers," a powerful confedera- 
tion of several thousand local Black youth. Early in 1969, as FBI and 
police infiltrators in the Rangers spread rumors of an impending Panther 



FBI anonymous 
letter to dismpt 
marriage and 
political activity of 
Black community 

attack, the Bureau sent Ranger chief Jeff Fort an incendiary note signed 
"a black brother you don't know." Fort's supposed friend warned that 
"The brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing 
and there's supposed to be a hit out for you."^^ Another FBI-concocted 
anonymous "black man" then informed Chicago Panther leader Fred 
Hampton of a Ranger plot "to get you out of the way. " These fabrications 
squelched promising talks between the two groups and enabled Chicago 
Panther security chief William O'Neal, an FBI-paid provocateur, to 
instigate a series of armed confrontations from which the Panthers barely 
managed to escape without serious casualties.^^^ 

Pressure Through Employers, Landlords, and Others: FBI 
records reveal repeated maneuvers to generate pressure on dissidents 
from their parents, children, spouses, landlords, employers, college 
administrators, church superiors, welfare agencies, credit bureaus, and 
the like. Anonymous letters and telephone calls were often used to this 
end. Confidential official communications were effective in bringing to 
bear the Bureau's immense power and authority. *^^ 

Agents' reports indicate that such FBI intervention denied Martin 
Luther King, Jr., and other 1960s activists any number of foundation 
grants and public speaking engagements.*^ It also deprived alternative 
newspapers of their printers, suppliers, and distributors and cost them 

50 Brian Glick 

crucial advertising revenues when major record companies were per- 
suaded to take their business elsewhere/^^ Similar government 
manipulation may underlie steps recently taken by some insurance 
companies to cancel policies held by churches giving sanctuary to 
refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala. 

Tampering WithMailandTelephoneService: The FBI and CIA 
routinely used mail covers (the recording of names and addresses) and 
electronic surveillance in order to spy on 1960s movements. The CIA 
alone admitted to photographing the outside of 2.7 million pieces of 
first-class mail during the 1960s and to opening almost 215,000. Govern- 
ment agencies also tampered with mail, altering, delaying, or "disappear- 
ing" it. Activists were quick to blame one another, and infiltrators easily 
exploited the situation to exacerbate their tensions.*^ 

^ ■'^^^^■ 


FBI anonymous letter to undermine a white woman activist's civil rights 
and anti-war work. 


FBI Fronts 

COINTELPRO documents reveal that a number of 1960s political groups 
and projects were actually set up and operated by the FBI.*^ One, "Gnipo 
pro-Uso Voto del MPI," was used to disrupt the fragile unity developing 
in the mid-1960s among the MPI (Movimiento Pro Independencia, 
forerunner of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party) and other groups seeking 
Puerto Rico's independence from the United States. The genuine 
proponents of independence had joined together around a common 
strategy of boycotting colonial elections which the U.S. government 
manipulated (through its control of the island's economy, media, schools, 
and police) to legitimize continued U.S. rule.The bogus group, pretend- 
ing to support independence, urged independentistas to ignore the 
boycott and go to the polls.*^ 

Since FBI front groups are basically a means for penetrating and disrupt- 
ing dissident movements, it is best to deal with them on the basis of the 
Guidelines for Coping with Infiltration. Confront what a suspect group 
says and does, but avoid public accusations unless you have definite 
proof If you do have such proof, share it with everyone affected. 

Dissidents' telephone communications often were similarly 
obstructed. The SDS Regional Office in Washington, D.C., for instance, 
mysteriously lost its phone service the week preceding virtually every 
national anti-war demonstration in the late 1960s. ^^* 

Disinformation to Prevent or Disrupt Movement Meetings 
and Activities: A favorite COINTELPRO tactic uncovered by Senate 
investigators was to advertise a non-existent political event, or to misin- 
form people of the time and place of an actual one. They reported a 
variety of disruptive FBI "dirty tricks" designed to cast blame on the 
organizers of movement events. 

In one "disinformation" case, the [FBI's] Chicago Field Office dupli- 
cated blank forms prepared by the National Mobilization Committee 
to End the War in Vietnam ("NMC") soliciting housing for 
demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention. Chicago filled 
out 217 of these forms with fictitious names and addresses and sent 
them to the NMC, which provided them to demonstrators who made 
"long and useless journeys to locate these addresses." The NMC then 
decided to discard all replies received on the housing forms rather than 
have out-of-town demonstrators try to locate nonexistent addresses. 
(The same program was carried out when the Washington Mobiliza- 
tion Committee distributed housing forms for demonstrators coming 
to Washington for the 1969 Presidential inaugural ceremonies.) 

52 Brian Glick 

In another case, during the demonstrations accompanying in- 
auguration ceremonies, the Washington Field Office discovered that 
NMC marshals were using walkie-talkies to coordinate their move- 
ments and activities. WFO used the same citizen band to supply the 
marshals with misinformation and, pretending to be an NMC unit, 
countermanded NMC orders. 

In a third case, a [Bureau] midwest field office disrupted arrange- 
ments for state university students to attend the 1969 inaugural 
demonstrations by making a series of anonymous telephone calls to 
the transportation company. The calls were designed to confuse both 
the transportation company and the SDS leaders as to the cost of 
transportation and the time and place for leaving and returning. This 
office also placed confusing leaflets around the campus to show 
different times and places for demonstration-planning meetings, as 
well as conflicting times and dates for traveling to Washington. ^^^ 

Guidelines for Coping with Psychological Warfare 

1. Verify and double-check all arrangements for housing, transpor- 
tation, meeting rooms, and so forth. Don't assume movement organizers 
are at fault if something goes wrong. 

2. Don't believe everything you hear or read. Check with the 
supposed source of the information before acting on it. Use a neutral 
third party if necessary. Personal communication among estranged 
activists, however difficult or painful, could have countered many FBI 
operations which proved effective in the 1960s. 

3. When you discover bogus materials, false media stories, or 
forged documents, publicly disavow them and expose the true source, 
insofar as you can. 

4. When you hear a negative, confusing, or potentially harmful 
rumor, don't pass it on. Instead, discuss it with a trusted friend or with 
the people in your group who are responsible for dealing with such 

5. Don't gossip about personal tensions, rivalries, and disagree- 
ments. This just feeds and amplifies rumors. Moreover, if you gossip 
where you can be overheard, you may add to the pool of information 
that the FBI and police use to divide our movements. (Note that the CIA 
has the technology to read mail without opening it and that telephones, 
including pay phones, can be tapped by a computer programmed to 
record conversations in which specified words appear.)"^ 

6. Be sure to make time in group meetings for open, honest 
discussion and resolution of "personal" as well as "political" issues. This 
is the best way to reduce tensions and hostilities and the urge to gossip 
about them. 


7. Warn your parents, friends, neighbors, and others who may be 
contacted by government agents. Consider telling them what you are 
doing and why before they hear the FBI's version. Provide them with 
materials which explain their legal rights and the dangers of talking with 
the FBI. Offer to connect them with lawyers and support groups. 

3* Harassment Through the Legal System 

Assigned official responsibility for investigating crimes , the FBI and 
police abuse their authority in order to attack radical activists. In the guise 
of law enforcement, they used a range of tactics to discredit and disrupt 
1960s movements. 

Conspicuous Surveillance: The FBI and police blatantly 
watched activists' homes, followed their cars, opened their mail, and 
attended their political events. The object was not to collect information 
(which is done surreptitiously), but to harass and intimidate.'^ 

"Investigative'' Interviews: FBI agents often extracted damag- 
ing information from activists who did not know their legal right to refuse 
to speak or who thought they could outsmart the FBI. But the purpose 
of supposedly investigative interviews was actually far broader. They 
provided a powerful means of intimidation, scaring off potential activists 
and driving away those who had already become involved. Orchestrated 
campaigns of interviews were used to create a climate of fear among 
dissidents and their supporters. COINTELPRO directives advised 
widespread interviewing of activists and their friends, relatives, and 
associates to "enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles" and "get 
the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox. "^^^ 

Grand Juries: Unlike an FBI request to talk, a grand jury subpoena 
carries legal penalties for non-cooperation. Those who refuse to testify, 
despite immunity from direct use of that testimony against them, can be 
jailed for contempt of court and may face criminal charges. (Such limited 
immunity still allows use of a witness's testimony against other activists 
and even to obtain other evidence against the testifying witness. It 
enables prosecutors to get around the Fifth Amendment right against 
compulsory self-incrimination.) 

This process has been manipulated to turn the grand jury into an 
instrument of political repression. Frustrated by the consistent refusal of 
trial juries to convict on charges of overtly political crimes, the FBI and 
the U.S. Justice Department convened over 100 grand juries in the late 
1960s and subpoenaed more than 1,000 activists from the Black, Puerto 
Rican, student, women's, and anti-war movements.^^ Pursuit of fugitives 
and alleged terrorists was the usual pretext. Many targets were so terrified 


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that they dropped out of political activity. Others were jailed for con- 
tempt of court without any criminal charge or trial. This use of the 
contempt power is a scaled-down version of the political internment 
employed in South Africa and Northern Ireland. 

Discriininatory Enforcement of Tax Laws and Other 
Government Regulations: The FBI arranged for special, meticulous 
audits of tax returns filed by dissident activists and organizations. It 
worked with the Internal Revenue Service to deny or revoke the tax-ex- 
empt status of educational, charitable, and religious organizations that 
lawfully aided progressive causes. ^^^ 

The FBI and police similarly arranged for local authorities to 
selectively enforce building codes, health regulations, and zoning laws 
in order to fine or shut down alternative institutions such as child care 
centers, medical clinics, and the GI coffeehouses that movement groups 
ran near major U.S. military bases. They wreaked havoc with the licenses 
of progressive lawyers, doctors, and other professionals. When 1960s 
activists had to show identification (e.g., upon enteiing a courtroom to 
witness a political trial), they could expect to be jailed if they had left 
parking tickets or other minor fines unpaid. ^^ 

False Arrest: COINTELPRO directives cite as exemplary the 
Philadelphia FBI's 1967 success in having local militants "arrested on 
every possible charge until they could no longer make bail" and "spent 
most of the summer in jail. "^^' FBI agents across the country were advised 
that since the "purpose. . .is to disrupt. . .it is immaterial whether facts exist 
to substantiate the charge. "^''^ Accordingly, activists were repeatedly 
arrested on flimsy charges which were dropped long before trial. 

This technique was particularly effective in disrupting movement 
activities. Street sellers of underground newspapers were routinely 
rounded up when their paper was about to come out.^''^ In one case, 
Chicago Panther leader Fred Hampton was arrested in a local television 
studio as he was about to appear on a popular talk show, and then 
released when the program ended. ^''^ The Black Panthers were hit with 
768 arrests between May 1967 and December 1969 alone.^'^ 

Political Trials: While many of the 1960s activists who were 
rounded up in this manner were quickly released, others faced full- 
blown prosecution. Among those tried for alleged crimes were: Dr. 
Benjamin Spock, Rev. William Sloane Coffin, and other advocates and 
organizers of draft resistance; Fathers Daniel and Phillip Berrigan and 
their Catholic pacifist compatriots; leaders of the 1968 Democratic Party 
Convention protests (the "Chicago 8 Conspiracy Trial"); national SNCC 
chair H. Rap Brown; and prominent Black communist professor and 
activist Angela Davis.^'''' By the summer of 1969, the surviving non-im- 

36 Brian Glick 

prisoned and non-exiled national officers of the Black Panther Party 
were on trial, along with the leaders of key Panther chapters inNew York 
City, Los Angeles, and New Haven."^ 

In case after case, the government's political motives, fabricated 
evidence, and perjured testimony were exposed and the defendants 
were acquitted by jurors profoundly moved by the trial experience. In 
the process, however, the 1960s movements suffered enonnously. The 
trials achieved the effect that the FBI secretly intended: to "exhaust and 
demoralize" dissident movements, "even if actual prosecution is not 
successful as far as convictions are concerned. "^'^ 

In most cases, the initial horrifying criminal charges (such as an 
alleged Panther plot to bomb crowded New York City department 
stores) received far more publicity than the eventual acquittals. The cost 
of lawyers, investigators, transcripts, depositions, expert witnesses, and 
other requisites of effective criminal defense proved staggering. Millions 
of dollars more had to be raised for bail bonds, a reported $4,890,580 by 
the Panthers alone during the period between May 1967 and December 
1969.^'^^ Those defendants who could not make bail, mainly Blacks and 
Latinos, were removed from their communities and jailed for months and 
even years. Though political trials sometimes provided a useful focus for 
public education, their main effect was to slander progressive move- 
ments, drain their resources, and cause activists to "bum out" in defen- 
sive efforts that left little time or energy for organizing around issues 
which affect ordinary people's lives. 

Wrongful Imprisomnent: Though most 1960s activists tried on 
political charges were eventually acquitted, many were convicted and 
imprisoned. Some were simply framed, such as Black anarchist Martin 
Sostre, sentenced to 30 to 41 years for allegedly selling narcotics from 
his radical bookstore in Buffalo, New York.^'^ Others, including Black 
Panther founder Huey Newton and Cleveland Black militant Ahmed 
Evans, were lured into armed self-defense for which they G^ut not their 
assailants) were convicted after rigged trials.^'^^ 

Still other 1960s activists were victimis of the selective enforcement 
of laws routinely ignored throughout U.S. society. Lee Otis Johnson, a 
SNCC organizer in Texas, received a 30-year sentence for allegedly 
passing a single joint of marijuana to an undercover agent.^^ John 
Sinclair, leader of Detroit's White Panther Party and editor of several 
alternative newspapers, was sentenced to ten years in a maximum 
security prison for possessing two joints.^^^ 

Years later, the trials of imprisoned COINTELPRO targets wqre 
reviewed by the world human rights organization Amnesty International . 
Amnesty found official abuse to be so pervasive and egregious in these 


cases as to cast serious doubt on all the resulting convictions. It called 
for an official "commission of inquiry into the effect of domestic intel- 
ligence activities on criminal trials in the United States of America. "^^^ 

Manipulation of Probation and Parole: Particularly vulnerable 
were 1960s activists with pre-movement criminal records. Outspoken 
revolutionary prisoners such as George Jackson were repeatedly turned 
down by parole boards that had long since released inmates with 
comparable records.^^^ Eldridge Cleaver, national Panther official and 
1968 U.S. presidential candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party, had 
his parole revoked because of criminal charges stemming from an April 
1968 incident in which a group of Panthers were ambushed by Oakland, 
California police/^ Cleaver's consequent exile, fearing he would be 
murdered in prison, set the stage for the COINTELPRO operations that 
eventually shattered the party. 

Guidelines for Coping with Harassment Through 
the Legal System 

1. Don't talk to the FBI, and don't let them in without a 
warrant. Keep careful records of what they say and do. Tell others that 
they came. (For more detailed advice and information, see the box on 
page 58.) 

2. If an activist does talk, or makes some other honest error, explain 
the serious harm that could result. Be firm, but do not ostracize a sincere 
person who slips up. Isolation only weakens a person's ability to resist. 
It can drive someone out of the movement and even into the hands of 
the police. 

3. If FBI or other government agents start to harass people in your 
area, alert everyone to refuse to cooperate. Warn your friends, neigh- 
bors, parents, children, and anyone else who might be contacted. Make 
sure people know what to do and where to call for help. Get literature, 
films, and other materials through the organizations listed in the back of 
this book. Set up community meetings with speakers who have resisted 
similar harassment elsewhere. Contact sympathetic reporters. Consider 
"Wanted" posters with photos of the agents, or guerrilla theater which 
follows them through the city streets. 

4. Organizations listed in the back can also help resist grand jury 
harassment. Community education is important, along with child care 
and legal, financial, and other support for those who protect a movement 
by refusing to divulge information. If a respected activist is subpoenaed 
for obviously political reasons, consider trying to arrange for sancJtuary 
in a local church or synagogue. 

58 Brian Glick 

If the FBI Drops By, JUST SAY NO! 

1. You do not have to talk to FBI agents, police, or other investi- 
gators. You do not have to talk to them in your house, on the street, if 
you've been arrested, or even in jail. Only a court or grand jury has legal 
authority to compel testimony. 

2. You don't have to let the FBI or police into your home or ofQce 
unless they show you an arrest or search warrant which autho- 
rizes them to enter that specific place. 

3. If they do present a warrant, you do not have to tell them 
anything other than your name and address. You have a right to 
observe what they do. Make written notes, including the agents' names, 
agency, and badge numbers. Try to have other people present as 
witnesses, and have them make written notes too. 

4. Anything you say to an FBI agent or other law enforcement 
officer may be used against you and other people. 

5. Giving the FBI or police information may mean that you will 
have to testify to the same information at a trial or before a grand 

6. Lying to an FBI agent or other federal investigator is a crime. 

7. The best advice, if the FBI or police try to question you or to 
enter your home or office without a warrant, is to JUST SAY NO. 

FBI agents have a job to do, and they are highly skilled at it. Attempting 
to outwit them is very risky. You can nevertellhowa seemingly harmless 
bit of information can help them hurt you or someone else. 

8. The FBI or police may threatenyouwithagrand jury subpoena 
if you don't give them information. But you may get one any- 
way,and anything you've already told them will be the basis for more 
detailed questioning under oath. (If you do get a subpoena, you might 
be able to fight it with help from groups listed on page 92.) 

9. They may try to threaten or intimidate you by pretending to 
have information about you: "We know what you have been doing, 
but if you cooperate it will be all right." If you are concerned about this, 
tell them you will talk to them with your lawyer present. 

1 0. If you are nervous about simply refusing to talk, you may find 
it easier to tell them to contact your lawyer. Once a lawyer is 
involved, the FBI and police usually pull back since they have lost their 
power to intimidate. (Make arrangements with sympathetic local law- 
yers and let everyone know that agents who visit them can be referred 
to these lawyers. Organizations listed on page 92 can help locate 


5. If your group engages in civil disobedience or finds itself under 
intense police pressure, start a bail fund, train some members to deal 
with the legal system, and develop an ongoing relationship with sympa- 
thetic local lawyers. 

6. If you anticipate arrest, do not carry address books or any other 
materials which could help the FBI and police. 

7. While the FBI and police are entirely capable of fabricating 
criminal charges, your non-political law violations make it easier for 
them to set you up. Be careful with drugs, tax returns, traffic tickets, and 
so forth. The point is not to get paranoid, but to make a realistic 
assessment based on your visibility and other relevant circumstances. 

8. When an activist has to appear in court, make sure he or she is 
not alone. The presence of supporters is crucial for morale and can help 
influence jurors. 

9. Don't neglect jailed activists. Organize visits, correspondence, 
books, food packages, child care, etc. Keep publicizing their cases. 

10. Publicize FBI and police abuses through sympathetic journal- 
ists and your own media (posters, leaflets, public access cable television, 
etc.). Don't let the government and corporate media be the only ones to 
shape public perceptions of FBI and police attacks on political activists. 

In Berkeley, California in the late 1960s, activists used whistles, noise- 
makers, and spotlights to ward off FBI and police harassment. When 
law enforcement personnel entered an area, the first person to spot 
them would alert other activists in the vicinity. Soon dozens of people 
were gathered around the intruders, blowing loud whistles, shining 
bright lights on them, and demanding that they leave. The effect was to 
ridicule the FBI and police and undermine their intimidating mystique. 
Activists had fun in the process, and gained a sense of their collective 

4. Extralegal Force and Violence 

A late 1960s COINTELPRO communique urged that "The Negro 
youth and moderates must be made to understand that if they succumb 
to revolutionary teaching, they will be dead revolutionaries.""^ In this 
spirit, the FBI and police created a virtual reign of terror in movement 
communities. Their methods included: 

Govenunent Instigation of "Private" Violence: FBI records 
reveal covert maneuvers to get the Mafia to move against Black activist- 
comedian Dick Gregory and the entire leadership of the Communist 
Party-USA ("Operation Hoodwink").^^ The Bureau also used infiltrators. 

60 Brian Glick 

forgeries, and anonymous notes and telephone calls to incite violent 
rivals to attack Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party, and other targets. 
One COINTELPRO report boasted that "shootings, beatings and a high 
degree of unrest continue to prevail in the ghetto area. . .it is felt that a 
substantial amount of the unrest is directly attributable to this pro- 

To goad the right-wing Jewish Defense League (JDL) into attacking 
the Panthers, the New York FBI invented a Black World War II veteran 
who wrote anonymously to JDL head Rabbi Meir Kahane. The FBI "GI" 
told Kahane a heart-rending story of how he came to respect Jews when 
"a Jewish Army Dr. named Rothstein" saved his life and a Jewish teacher, 
"Mr. Katz," helped him in school. He complained that his oldest son had 
started calling him "a Jew boy's slave" after joining the Panthers. In a 
progression of letters, Kahane's phony pen pal warned more and more 
urgently of Panther plans to extort money from Jewish merchants and 
bomb Jewish stores. The FBI then sat back and watched Blacks and Jews 
slug it out on the streets of Harlem, confirming each group's worst fears.'* 

CoveilGoveriuiientAidtoRight-WingVigilantes: In the guise 
of using COINTELPRO against **white hate groups," the FBI actually 
subsidized, armed, directed, and protected a sordid array of racist, 
right-wing thugs. One such group, a "Secret Army Organization" of 
California ex-Minutemen led by FBI operative Howard Godfrey, beat up 
Chicano activists, tore apart the offices of the San Diego Street Journal 
and the Movement for a Democratic Military, and tried to kill a prominent 
anti-war organizer.'^ Defectors from the Legion of Justice, a Chicago- 
based vigilante band that wrecked movement bookstores, newspaper 
offices, and film studios, testified that they had been secretly armed and 
financed by the U.S. Army's 113th Military Intelligence Group and that 
their targets had been selected by the Chicago Police Department red 

The FBI's main right-wing beneficiary was the Ku Klux Klan. In 
1961, the FBI supplied the advance information that enabled the Klan to 
brutalize freedom riders as they arrived in various Southern cities. FBI 
operative Gary Thomas Rowe shot one of the guns when the KKK 
murdered civil rights worker Viola Liuzo in 1963. He helped plan the 
bombing that took the lives of four Black children at a Birmingham, 
Alabama, church that same year. By 1965, some 20 percent of Klan 
members were on the FBI payroll. Many occupied positions of power: 
"FBI agents reached leadership positions in seven of the fourteen Klan 
groups across the country, headed one state Klan organization and even 
created a splinter Klan group which grew to nearly two hundred mem- 



Govenunent Burglaries and Vandalism: Former agents con- 
fessed to thousands of "black bag jobs" in which the FBI broke into 
dissidents' offices, homes, and cars. Some of these burglaries were 
carried out stealthily, to copy records, steal papers, sabotage machinery, 
or plant bugs, drugs, or guns, without the targets' knowledge. In one 
operation, FBI agents broke in to steal the personal diary of a member 
of the Progressive Labor Party, forged entries to set up a snitch jacket, 
and then broke in again to plant the incriminating evidence.^^^ 

Many other bag jobs were blatantly crude, designed to intimidate 
activists and their supporters. Government infiltrators later admitted 
numerous other acts of vandalism, ranging from broken windows to 
fire-bombings.^^^ Late 1960s FBI and police raids laid waste to under- 
ground press offices across the country. ^^ Historian Robert Goldstein has 
provided an account of similar raids on the offices of the Black Panther 

From April to December 1969, police raided Panther headquarters 
in San Francisco, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Denver, San 
Diego, Sacramento and Los Angeles, including four separate raids in 
Chicago, two in San Diego and two in Los Angeles. . . 

62 Brian Glick 

Police raids frequently involved severe damage to Panther head- 
quarters. Thus, during a raid at Sacramento in June, 1969, in search of 
an alleged sniper who was never found, police sprayed the building 
with tear gas, shot up the walls, broke typewriters and destroyed bulk 
food which the Panthers were distributing free to ghetto chil- 
dren... During raids on Panther headquarters in Philadelphia in Sep- 
tember, 1970, police ransacked the office, ripped out plumbing and 
chopped up and carted away furniture. Six Panthers were led into the 
street, placed against a wall and stripped as Police Chief Frank Rizzo 
boasted to newsmen, "Imagine the big Black Panthers with their pants 

Govemment Assaults, Beatings, and Killings: Under the guise 
of enforcing the law, FBI agents and police officers routinely roughed 
up 1960s activists and often threatened or injured them. The coordinator 
of the PEN American Center's Freedom to Write Committee recorded the 
experience of one alternative newspaper: 

KudzUy produced in Jackson, Mississippi, served as a major organiza- 
tional center for the New Left and counterculture in that area. The 
tenacity of the paper and its allies can be gauged by the fact that by 
1968 the newspaper had survived a conviction on obscenity charges, 
the arrest of salespeople, the confiscation of cameras, and even 
eviction from its offices. On Oaober 8, 1968, eighteen staff members 
and supporters ofKudzuwere attacked and beaten by Jackson deputy 
sheriffs. . .In 1970, Kudzuvfzs put under direct surveillance by the FBI. 
For more than two months FBI agents made daily searches without 
warrants... On October 24 and 25, Kudzu sponsored a Southem 
regional conference of the Underground Press Syndicate. The night 
before the conference the FBI and Jackson detectives searched the 
Kudzu offices twice. During the search, an FBI agent threatened to kill 
Kudzu staffers. On the morning of October 26, FBI agents again 
searched the offices. That evening local police entered the building, 
held its eight occupants at gunpoint, produced a bag of marijuana, 
then arrested them... A Kudzu staff member commented, "The FBI 
used to be fairly sophisticated, but lately they have broken one of our 
doors, pointed guns in our faces, told us that 'punks like you don't 
have any rights,' and threatened to shoot us on the street if they see 
us with our hands in our pockets."^^ 

Similar violence was used to disperse 1960s demonstrations, with 
provocative acts by undercover agents often providing a convenient 
pretext. Southem police attacks on civil rights workers in the early 1960s 
have been widely publicized, most recently in the documentary film 
"Eyes on the Prize." Contrary to the impression promoted by the media, 
however, 1960s police brutality against political protesters was not 
limited to any one period or region. As progressive momentum surged 


in the final years of the decade, "Southern justice" spread throughout the 
country. Unarmed demonstrators were attacked by police and national 
guardsmen in Ohio (Kent State), Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, 
California, and Puerto Rico as well as Mississippi (Jackson State) and 
North Carolina (Orangeburg). Thousands were beaten and injured. 
Hundreds were wounded and hospitalized. At least 17 were killed.^^^ 

Political Assassination: While activists from all walks of life 
were randomly beaten and killed by police and guardsmen. Black 
leaders targeted under COINTELPRO faced "neutralization" through 
premeditated murder. In Houston, Texas, in July 1970, police assassi- 
nated Carl Hampton, Black leader of that city's burgeoning Peoples 
Party.^^ In Oakland, California, in April 1968, Bobby Hutton, national 
finance minister of the Black Panther Party, was gunned down as he 
emerged unarmed, hands held high, from the police ambush which 
drove Eldridge Cleaver into exile.^^ In Chicago, in December 1969, the 
FBI, police, and state's attorney joined forces in the cold-blooded murder 
of Illinois Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton.^^ 

The murder of Fred Hampton was especially pivotal. Hampton was 
a charismatic leader who developed a broad following in the Black 
community and organized the first multi-racial "rainbow coalition." In 
the late fall of 1969, he agreed to take the reins of the national party 
organization after its initial leaders were jailed or forced into exile. At 
that point, having failed in its efforts to get Hampton rubbed out by local 
street gangs, the FBI arranged to have the job done by a special squad 
of police assigned to the state's attorney's office. 

The Bureau provided a detailed floorplan of Hampton's home 
marked to show where Hampton slept. Its paid informer, William 
O'Neal, Hampton's personal bodyguard, drugged Hampton's Kool-Aid 
so he would remain unconscious through the night. As the Panthers 
slept, O'Neal slipped out and a l4-man hit squad armed with automatic 
weapons crashed into Hampton's home and pumped in over 200 rounds 
of ammunition. When their fire subsided, Hampton and Mark Clark lay 
dead and seven other Panthers were wounded. 

The incident was subsequently investigated by a blue-ribbon 
citizens' commission and litigated at length in the federal courts. Despite 
an elaborate law enforcement cover-up, Hampton's death was found to 
be the result not of a shootout, as claimed by the authorities, but of a 
carefully orchestrated, Vietnam-style "search and destroy" mission.^^^ 
The federal and local governments had to pay $1.8 million in damages 
to the parents and survivors. 

These thoroughly documented findings, viewed in the context of 
the whole history of COINTELPRO, lend credence to the widely held. 

64 Brian GUck 

enduring suspicion that the FBI or CIA were also behind the assassina- 
tion of the two most important progressive U.S. leaders of the decade, 
Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.^^ 

Guidelines for Coping with Extralegal Force and 

1. Establish security procedures appropriate to your group's level 
of activity and discuss them thoroughly with everyone involved. Control 
access to keys, files, letterhead, funds, financial records, mailing lists, etc. 

2. Keep duplicates of valuable documents, records, files, computer 
disks, etc. in a safe place separate from your home or office. 

3- Remember that cars are easily broken into (especially trunks) 
and that trash can easily be rifled and searched. 

Upon hearing of Fred Hampton's murder, the Black Panthers in Los 
Angeles fortified their offices and organized a communications network 
to alert the community and news media in the event of a raid. When the 
police did attempt an armed assault four days later, the Panthers were 
able to hold off the attack until a large community and media presence 
enabled them to leave the office without serious casualties.^^ Similar 
preparation can help other groups to deal with expected right-wing or 
police assaults. 

4. Make a public issue of any form of crude harassment. Contact 
your congressperson. Call the media. Demonstrate at your local FBI, 
police, or right-wing organization's office. Turn the attack into an oppor- 
tunity for explaining how domestic covert action threatens fundamental 
human rights. 

5- Keep careful records of break-ins, thefts, bomb threats, raids, 
brutality, conspicuous surveillance, and other harassment. They will 
help you to discern patterns and to prepare reports and testimony. 

6. Share this information and your experiences combatting such 
attacks with the Movement Support Network and other groups which 
document and analyze repression and resistance countrywide. (See 
resource groups listing in back of book.) 

7. If you experience or anticipate intense harassment, develop 
contingency plans and an emergency telephone network so you can 
rapidly mobilize community support and media attention. Consider 
better locks, window bars, alarm systems, fireproof locked cabinets, etc. 


8. Be sure that some members are well trained in first aid. Keep 
medical supplies up-to-date and know how to contact sympathetic 
doctors and nurses and get to the nearest hospital. 

9. Make sure your group designates and prepares other members 
to step in if leaders are jailed or otherwise incapacitated. The more each 
participant is able to think for herself or himself and take responsibility, 
the greater the group's capacity to cope with crises. 

• Exposing Domestic Covert Action as 
Undemocratic and a Form of Terrorism 

To build strong movements for social justice, it is essential that 
activists study and discuss the methods of covert action and prepare to 
deal with them. Since such attacks depend on secrecy, it is also important 
that they be exposed to the widest possible audience. The bare facts 
should be sufficient to outrage most people. People will gain a deeper 
understanding of the functions and impact of domestic covert action, 
and be better able to resist it, if we also address the excuses that 
government officials offer when their clandestine operations are re- 

When COINTELPRO was first uncovered, the FBI and the U.S. 
Justice Department claimed it was needed to prevent violence and to 
defend the "national security" against totalitarian subversion. Caught 
running similar operations in the 1980s, they cited the threat of "terror- 
ism." We will see, however, that domestic covert action does not protect 
against any of this. It actually does the opposite. It subverts democracy 
and promotes violence and terrorism. 

The official excuses for COINTELPRO were flatly rejected by the 
Senate Intelligence Committee. The Committee found that the program 
did not combat violence, espionage, or sabotage. Its real purpose was 
"maintaining the existing social and political order. "^^'^ 

The senators dismissed the proffered goal of "protecting national 
security" as applying at most to operations against the Communist Party. 
They found that the other targets of domestic covert action have been 
homegrown radicals not even arguably under the control of an enemy 
government or organization.^^^ 

In recent years, as world politics have become more multi-polar, 
the pretext of national security has largely given way to the new excuse 
that covert action is needed to combat international terrorism. The 
political bias of this concept is transparent from its application only to 
groups such as CISPES, that back foreign movements or governments 
that the current administration opposes. The concept is never applied to 

66 Brian GUck 

the domestic financiers and publicists for the U.S. client states and 
CIA-created contras and other phony "freedom fighters" who together 
account for so much of the world's political violence. ^^^ 

Much of what the U.S. government has cited as international 
terrorism, such as the "Libyan hit squads" of the early 1980s, turns out to 
be pure hoax. What remains are largely liberation movements like the 
African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa and the FMLN in El 
Salvador. These movements took up arms when military repression 
(often directed or supported by the United States) made peaceful change 
impossible. The legitimacy of armed struggle under such conditions has 
repeatedly been recognized in official United Nations resolutions which 
are binding on the U.S. government as a matter of international law.^^ 
Public endorsement and humanitarian aid in support of any political 
movement, within or outside of our borders, has always been a funda- 
mental democratic right. That a particular administration in Washington 
slanders such a movement as "terrorist" does not entitle it to obstruct or 
sabotage constitutionally protected activity on that movement's behalf. 

Equally preposterous as a justification for domestic covert action 
is the official pretense that it helps to prevent violence and terrorism 
within the United States. Under COINTELPRO, the FBI condoned and 
supported the racist violence of the Ku Klux Klan, the Secret Army 
Organization, and other right-wing vigilantes. Throughout the 1980s, it 
rejected congressional requests that it investigate nationwide political 
bombings of abortion clinics. Instead, the Bureau "prevents violence" by 
moving against radical pacifists such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and 
Maryknoll Sisters. 

The record shows that the vast majority of the targets of domestic 
covert action have engaged only in peaceful protest. They do no harm 
to anyone's health or safety. The only danger they pose is to the status 
quo. Their only weapon is the power of their words and the threat of 
their good example. 

Rather than preventing violence, domestic covert action has 
actually served to promote it. Much of the violence in which U.S. radicals 
have become involved turns out to have been the responsibility of the 
FBI or police. A great deal was directly initiated, instigated, incited, or 
provoked by infiltrators or through other covert operations. Much of the 
rest has been a response to government repression. 

The 1960s radicals who eventually threw rocks, trashed offices, 
bombed buildings, or shot at policemen started out in peaceful efforts 
to change public policy and create humane alternatives. It was the 
government's response that drove them to more drastic action and made 
it seem the only way left to effect change. The movie "The War at Home" 






The ^^o\ op<jQr>r\iAec\)r 

5o i QSi^ -j CM • 

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68 Brian GUck 

shows how a 1960s pacifist student, Carlton Amistrong, came to bomb 
an Army research center after he had witnessed and endured repeated 
bmtal beatings during non-violent protests that seemed to have no 
impact on U.S. policy toward Vietnam. The activists who formed the 
Weather Underground Organization also had roots in anti-war and civil 
rights work which came under government attack. 

Assata Shakur's autobiography, Assata,^^ traces her similar evolu- 
tion from working in FBI-targeted Black Panther child care centers and 
health clinics to the Black Liberation Army. Hers is, in this sense, a typical 
Panther history. While the Black Panther Party always stood for armed 
self-defense, and a few Panther men were prone to macho posturing and 
individual acts of violence, the party had no program of armed retaliation 
during its first four years. That policy was not adopted until late 1970. It 
came in direct and belated response to years of vicious, armed FBI and 
police attack on the Panthers and the Black community. 

While freely applying its own massive armed force to crush oppo- 
sition movements at home and abroad, the U.S. government has maneu- 
vered to discredit the legitimate use of force by those who have no other 
way to resist genocide and fight for freedom. It has colluded with the 
major media and the academic establishment to cover up official vio- 
lence and provocation while promoting exaggerated and fabricated 
accounts which smear movement militancy as "terrorism.'' This propa- 
ganda sets up dissidents for blatant repression and isolates them from 
the support they need to withstand it. 

Domestic covert action thus provides a pretext as well as a vehicle 
for violent government attacks on progressive movements. Taking into 
account the political beatings, shootings, and vandalism by the FBI and 
police, their aid to right-wing vigilantes, their provocation and incite- 
ment of brutal assaults on activists, and their outright assassination of 
movement leaders, these government agencies are far and away the 
primary source of political violence in the United States. It is they who 
systematically and aggressively initiate the use of force and intimidation 
for political ends. Under the guise of combatting terrorism, the FBI and 
police are — ^in this fundamental sense — ^the real terrorists. 

The government's secret use of force and fraud to crush political 
opposition is antithetical to any accepted concept of democracy. In the 
name of protecting our fundamental freedoms, the FBI and police have 
in fact subverted them. They have taken the law into their own hands to 
punish dissident speech and association without the least semblance of 
due process. By acting covertly, they have insulated themselves from 
any genuine democratic accountability. 


Most people in the United States rightly condemn the secret police 
(often trained and financed by our government) who terrorize dissident 
movements in many other countries. Applying the same standards to the 
FBI and its allies in and out of government, it is hard to escape the 
conclusion that the situation is not all that different here at home, 
especially for people of color. The FBI and its associates together 
perform all the classic functions of a secret police.^^ They may have been 
somewhat restrained in the post-World War II era of economic abun- 
dance and relative ideological consensus, but even then they interro- 
gated, detained, slandered, lied, vandalized, tortured, maimed, and 
killed. What would they do if millions of people demanded basic change? 
In the United States today, it is the political police, not the radical activists, 
who pose the threat to democracy and the danger to law and order. 

• Publicly Opposing the Government's 
Continued Use of Domestic Covert Action 

Having exposed domestic covert action as undemocratic and ter- 
rorist, it may also be useful, when the energy and resources are available, 
to engage in public political activity against its continued use. Although 
public opposition will not be able to eliminate covert repression until 
we win more systemic change, it can place some limits on what the 
political police do, and can weaken somewhat their ability to do it. 
Creative muckraking and organizing can put the FBI and police on the 
defensive and undermine their morale and legitimacy. It may lead some 
operations to be abandoned and some operatives to defect. It also serves 
to deepen popular understanding of the U.S. political system and rein- 
force activists* awareness of domestic covert action. The following 
section discusses various approaches to organizing against the 
government's continued use of such action. 

1. Investigative research is crucial if we are to monitor and 
document the homefront operations of the FBI, CIA, military intelli- 
gence, state and local police, "private sector" cops, and right-wing 
vigilantes. Keep in touch with national groups that do this work (see 
listing in the back of this book). Get their materials and let them know 
your experiences and ideas. These groups or a local lawyer can help you 
use the Freedom of Information Act and other research tools. 

2. Public education: Our goal is not merely to prove what the FBI 
and police do, but to get it across to a broad audience. Experiment with 
forums, rallies, radio and television, leaflets, pamphlets, comics, car- 
toons, film, posters, guerrilla theater, and any other avenue that might 
prove interesting and effective. 

70 Brian Glick 

3. Support for specific victims of domestic covert action can 

drive home the danger while reducing somewhat the hami done. Or- 
ganizing on behalf of break-in targets, grand jury resisters, and defen- 
dants in political trials offers a natural forum for public education. It is 
especially important to publicize the cases of the COINTELPRO targets 
who remain in prison: Leonard Peltier, Dennis Banks, Geronimo Pratt, 
Dhoruba Al-Mujahid Bin Wahad, Sundiata Acoli, Herman Bell, Anthony 
Bottom, Nuh Washington, and so many others. Groups listed in the back 
can provide information and help you hook up with support committees. 

4. Direct action often draws the most attention from the media 
and can directly impede political police operations. COINTELPRO was 
initially exposed when confidential files were removed from an FBI 
office and released to news media. Citizens' arrests, mock trials, picket 
lines, and civil disobedience have recently greeted CIA recruiters on a 
number of college campuses. Although the main focus has been on the 
Agency's international crimes, its domestic activities have also received 
attention. Similar actions might be organized to protest recruitment by 
the FBI and police, in conjunction witii teach-ins and other educational 
efforts. Demonstrations against attempts to expand the government's 
clandestine capability, or against particular FBI, CIA, or police opera- 
tions, could also raise public consciousness and focus activists' outrage. 

5. Lawsuits and legislative campaigns can provide a focus for 
public education and media coverage. Trials, pretrial discovery, and 
congressional hearings have proved a valuable source of documents and 
testimony. Lawsuits can also win financial compensation for some of the 
people harmed by covert action, and legislative lobbying can help defeat 
proposals that would protect it (e.g., bills to punish whistle-blowers or 
cut back public access to information). 

Some legislative campaigns and lawsuits have also resulted in laws 
and court orders which limit political police activity. Although police and 
intelligence agencies generally find ways around such legal restrictions, 
they may feel compelled to refrain from some operations which could 
prove especially embarrassing or to conceal them in ways that backfire. 
While Acts of Congress never directly stopped U.S. covert action in 
Nicaragua, for instance, they did lay the basis for the "Contragate" 
scandal which ultimately helped to undermine the Reagan 
administration's capacity to intervene. 

The value of legal restrictions on covert action will depend on our 
ability to mobilize continuing, vigilant public pressure for effective 
enforcement. It is crucial that we resist the temptation to think that the 
mere existence of laws and court orders means that COINTELPRO-type 
operations have ended. In deciding whether to take on a lawsuit or 






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legislative campaign, remember that they are enormously expensive and 
time-consuming, they can easily be turned into government probes of 
movement activities, and apparent victories can be undone by judicial 
reinterpretation. Watch out for bills or proposed judicial decrees which 
would divide our movements by authorizing covert action against some 
activists under the guise of protecting others. 

A number of these lessons emerge from analysis of the history of 
the class action lawsuit filed in the mid-1970s to restrict FBI, CIA, and 
police activity in Chicago. In its early stages, the case yielded a great deal 
of useful information and publicity. By the time of trial, however, support 
had dwindled and the suit became a drain on an underpaid and over- 
burdened legal team. Over the objection of many local activists, a 
settlement was accepted which protects only those who eschew any law 
violation or any involvement with a government or organization which 
the U.S. government labels "terrorist." The effect of the settlement was 
to legalize government infiltration and disruption of Chicago-area 
groups that engage in civil disobedience at home or oppose U.S. attacks 
on progressive governments and national liberation movements 

Some prominent civil libertarians celebrated this agreement and 
cited it, along with similar legislative and courtroom "victories," as 
marking the defeat of COINTELPRO-type operations in the United States. 

72 Brian GUck 

Well into the Reagan years, these influential figures scoffed at warnings 
that domestic covert action remains a serious threat. Recently obtained 
FBI documents show, however, that the Bureau's Chicago field office 
never ceased its clandestine maneuvers. It was deeply involved through- 
out the 1980s in the Reagan administration's nationally coordinated 
covert campaign against CISPES and other opponents of U.S. interven- 
tion in Central America.^®^ The U.S. Court of Appeals has made the 
settlement of the Chicago class action lawsuit practically ineffective 
against such campaigns. It ruled that the settlement decree prohibits FBI 
and police operations only in the unlikely event that they are proved to 
be based "solely on the political views of a group or an individual" and 
the agencies can conjure up no pretext of a "basis in a genuine concern 
for law enforcement."^^ 

6. Coalitions: Direct action, guerrilla theater, postering, and any 
number of other effective forms of public protest can be done quite well 
by small affinity groups or ad hoc bands of activists. Major legislative 
campaigns and lawsuits, however, require a broader and more durable 
organizational base. Stable centers of public opposition to domestic 
covert action can serve a number of important functions. Such organiza- 
tions can raise funds for full-time staff to monitor the political police, 
organize public events, and publish educational materials. They can 
cultivate media contacts, providing a steady flow of authoritative back- 
ground and quotable commentary. They can also counter FBI propa- 
ganda and train activists to cope with covert action. Their prominent 
public presence may in itself serve as some restraint on the FBI and police 
and offer a form of protection that makes it easier for some operatives 
to defect. 

In most localities, and certainly on a national level, no existing 
political organization is strong enough to do all this by itself. Our best 
hope is to form an alliance among individuals and groups who oppose 
domestic covert action on a variety of grounds. Sustaining such a broad 
coalition requires that we resist the government's maneuvers to divide 
us. A stated, long-range goal common to all the COINTELPRO programs 
was to prevent the development of coalitions within and among dissi- 
dent movements. The most militant and radical groups, especially sup- 
porters of third world liberation, were consistently singled out for direct 
attack, while it was hinted that things would go easier for those who 
dissociated from such "violent disruptive elements." The same approach 
is evident today in government efforts to separate "politically motivated" 
sanctuary activists from those deemed truly "religious"^®^ and to isolate 
as "terrorists" those who support the national liberation movement in El 


Salvador or fight for Black liberation, Puerto Rican independence, or 
Native American sovereignty here at home. 

• Not Letting Political Repression Divert 
Us From Building Strong Movements 
for Social Justice 

Previous attempts to mobilize public opposition, especially on a 
local level, indicate that a broad coalition, employing a multi-faceted 
approach, may be able to impose some limits on government operations 
to discredit and disrupt our movements. It is clear, however, that we are 
not now in a position to eliminate such intervention. While fighting hard 
to end this hidden war at home, we need to take the time to study the 
forms it takes and prepare ourselves to cope with it effectively. 

Above all, it is essential that we resist the temptation to so preoc- 
cupy ourselves with repression that we neglect our main goals. Our 
ability to resist the government's attacks depends ultimately on the 
strength of our movements. If we deal openly and well with our differ- 
ences, covert action will not easily disrupt and divide us. If we show 
respect for the people we live and work with, and help them to fight for 
their needs, it will be hard for the FBI and police to discredit and isolate 
us. We will be able, instead, to draw support from our neighbors and 
co-workers and expose the political police to them. So long as we 
advocate and organize effectively, no manner of government interven- 
tion can stop us. 


Memorandum • united states government 


INTERNAL SECURITY - C August 28, 1956 

During its investigation of the Communist 
Party, USA, the Bureau has sought to capitalize on inci- 
dents involving the Party and its leaders in order to 
foster factionalism, bring the Communist Party (CP) and 
its leaders into disrepute before the American public 
and cause confusion and dissatisfaction among rank-and- 
file members of the CP. 

Generally, the above action has constituted 
harrassment rather than disruption, since, for the most 
part, the Bureau has set up particular incidents, and 
the attack has been from the outside. At the present 
time, however, there is existing within the CP a situa- 
tion resulting from the developments at the 10th Con- 
gress of the CP of the Soviet Union and the 
Government's attack on the Party principally through 
prosecutions under the Smith act of 1940 and the Inter- 
nal Security Act of 1950 which is made to order for an 
all-out disruptive attack against the CP from within. 
In other words, the Bureau is in a position to in- 
itiate, on a broader scale than heretofore attempted, a 
counterintelligence program against the CP, not by har- 
rassment from the outside, which might only serve to 
bring the various factions together, but by feeding and 
fostering from within the internal fight currently 
raging. . . . 

ACTION : A memorandum, together with a letter 
to 12 key offices is being prepared, requesting those 
offices to submit to the Bureau the identities of cer- 
tain informants who will be briefed and instructed to 
embark on a disruptive program within their own clubs, 
sections, districts or even on a national level. Those 
informants will raise objections and doubts as to the 
success of any proposed plan of action by the CP leader- 
ship. They will seize every opportunity to carry out 
the disruptive activity not only at meetings, conven- 
tions, et cetera, but also during social and other con- 
tacts with CP members and leaders. ... 

(Note: These documents have been retyped for legibility and edited for reasons 
of space.) 



Metnorandutn • united states government 

DATE: 11/15/60 




...It is believed that upon instituting a 
counterintelligence program in this field, efforts 
should be directed with the following aims in mind: 

I. Disruption and discord. 

II. Creating doubts as to the wisdom of 
remaining in the independence move- 

III. Causing defections from the inde- 
pendence movement . 

The suggested means of obtaining these desired 
ends are as follows: 

1) Exploiting factionalism within an organiza- 
tion. Factionalism is a common fault within pro-inde- 
pendence groups and it is believed that this existing 
element can be developed, enlarged and exploited. . . 
Friction, such as existed between these two at that 
time, can be exploited through the use of an informant 
to point out to one, the inefficiency of the others and 
in general conversation ^^fan the fire" of existing fric- 
tion thereby helping to bring about a factional split. 

Secondly, the use of handwritten, anonymous 
letters directed to one group in which the seed of 
suspicion is planted concerning the real motivation and 
goal of the other group. 

2) Promoting friction between various pro-inde- 
pendence groups . . . 

In this instance the use of informants and 
anonymous letters could be used, as set forth in number 
1 above, and in addition a mimeographed flyer could be 
utilized in conjunction with the anonymous letters, 
criticizing the leadership of the organization and 
giving the impression that it had been prepared by 
another pro-independence group... 

76 Brian Glick 

3) Questioning the indiscriminate use of an 
organization' s money. . . 

In instances such as this, friction between 
the members and the leaders can be developed through 
the use of informants and anonymous letters. 

4) Questioning the wisdom of allowing non-Puer- 
to Rican groups to be influential in the independence 
movement . ... 

In NYC at present, however, [deleted] and his 
followers are associating with, and using the 
facilities of, the Workers World Party. The WWP is a 
splinter group of the Socialist Workers Party and are 
known as Marcyites. In an instance such as this, it is 
felt that an opportunity is presented whereby 
mimeographed flyers could be directed to various in- 
dividuals of the different pro-independence groups 
pointing out the ^^intrusion" of the WWP and worded in 
such a way as to indicate that the SWP was the 
originator of the flyer. 

The above items are submitted as suggestions 
as a beginning. They in no way cover the vast field of 
possibilities in the counterintelligence program as 
numerous instances will undoubtedly arise from time to 
time whereby new ideas can be formulated which can fur- 
ther promote such a program. 


SAC, Albany August 25, 1967 


Director, FBI 


. . .The purpose of this new counterintelligence 
endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, 
or otherwise neutralize the activities of black 
nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, 
their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and sup- 
porters, and to counter their propensity for violence 
and civil disorder. The activities of all such groups 
of intelligence interest to the Bureau must be followed 
on a continuous basis so we will be in a position to 
promptly take advantage of all opportunities for 
counterintelligence and to inspire action in instances 
where circumstances warrant. The pernicious background 
of such groups, their duplicity, and devious maneuvers 
must be exposed to public scrutiny where such publicity 
will have a neutralizing effect. Efforts of the various 
groups to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or 
youthful adherents must be frustrated. No opportunity 
should be missed to exploit through counterintelligence 
techniques the organizational and personal conflicts of 
the leaderships of the groups and where possible an ef- 
fort should be made to capitalize upon existing con- 
flicts between competing black nationalist 
organizations. When an opportunity is apparent to dis- 
rupt or neutralize black nationalist, hate-type or- 
ganizations through the cooperation of established 
local news media contacts or through such contact with 
sources available to the Seat of Government, in every 
instance careful attention must be given to the 
proposal to insure the targeted group is disrupted, 
ridiculed, or discredited through the publicity and not 
merely publicized. . . . 

You are also cautioned that the nature of this 
new endeavor is such that under no circumstances should 
the existence of the program be made known outside the 
Bureau and appropriate within-office security should be 
afforded to sensitive operations and techniques con- 
sidered under the program. 

No counterintelligence action under this pro- 
gram may bg initiated by thg f j.eJ.d without spgcilf ac 
prior Bureau authorization. 

78 Brian Glick 





...The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a 
pro-Chinese communist group, was active in Philadel- 
phia, Pa., in the summer of 1967. The Philadelphia Of- 
fice alerted local police, who then put RAM leaders 
under close scrutiny. They were arrested on every pos- 
sible charge until they could no longer make bail. As a 
result, RAM leaders spent most of the summer in jail 
and no violence traceable to RAM took place. ... 


For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintel- 
ligence Program, and to prevent wasted effort, long- 
range goals are being set. 

1. Prevent the coalition of militant black 
nationalist groups. In unity there is strength; a 
truism that is no less valid for all its triteness. An 
effective coalition of black nationalist groups might 
be the first step toward a real ^^Mau Mau" in America, 
the beginning of a true black revolution. 

2. Prevent the rise of a ^^messiah"^ who could 
unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist 
movement. Malcolm X might have been such a ^^messiah/" 
he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin Luther 
King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire 
to this position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat 
because of his age. King could be a very real contender 
for this position should he abandon his supposed 

^^ obedience" to ^^white, liberal doctrines" (nonviolence) 
and embrace black nationalism. Carmichael has the neces- 
sary charisma to be a real threat in this way. 

3 . Prevent violence on the part of black 
nationalist groups. This is of primary importance, and 
is, of course, a goal of our investigative activity; it 
should also be a goal of the Counterintelligence Pro- 
gram. Through counterintelligence it should be possible 
to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them 
before they exercise their potential for violence. 

4. Prevent militant black nationalist groups 
and leaders from gaining respectability . by discredit- 
ing them to three separate segments of the community. 
The goal of discrediting black nationalists must be 


handled tactically in three ways. You must discredit 
those groups and individuals to, first, the responsible 
Negro community. Second, they must be discredited to 
the white community, both the responsible community and 
to ^^liberals" who have vestiges of sympathy for 
militant black nationalist [s] simply because they are 
Negroes. Third, these groups must be discredited in the 
eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement. 
This last area requires entirely different tactics from 
the first two. Publicity about violent tendencies and 
radical statements merely enhances black nationalists 
to the last group; it adds '"respectability" in a dif- 
ferent way. 

5. A final goal should be to prevent the long- 
range growth of militant black nationalist organiza- 
tions, especially among youth. Specific tactics to 
prevent these groups from converting young people must 
be developed. . . . 


Primary targets of the Counterintelligence Pro- 
gram, Black Nationalist-Hate Groups, should be the most 
violent and radical groups and their leaders. We should 
emphasize those leaders and organizations that are 
nationwide in scope and are most capable of disrupting 
this country. These targets should include the radical 
and violence-prone leaders, members, and followers of 

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) 
Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) 
Nation of Islam (NOI) 

Offices handling these cases and those of 
Stokely Carmichael of SNCC, H. Rap Brown of SNCC, Mar- 
tin Luther King of SCLC, Maxwell Stanford of RAM, and 
Elijah Muhammed of NOI, should be alert for counterin- 
telligence suggestions. ... 

80 Brian Glick 


Bulet 5/10/68 requested suggestions for 
counterintelligence action against the New Left. The 
replies to the Bureau' s request have been analyzed and 
it is felt that the following suggestions for counterin- 
telligence action can be utilized by all offices: 

1. Preparation of a leaflet designed to 
counteract the impression that Students for a 
Democratic Society (SDS) and other minority groups 
speak for the majority of students at universities. The 
leaflet should contain photographs of New Left leader- 
ship at the respective university. Naturally, the most 
obnoxious pictures should be used. 

2. The instigating of or the taking advantage 
of personal conflicts or animosities existing between 
New Left leaders. 

3. The creating of impressions that certain 
New Left leaders are informants for the Bureau or other 
law enforcement agencies. 

4 . The use of articles from student newspapers 
and/or the ^^underground press" to show the depravity of 
New Left leaders and members. In this connection, ar- 
ticles showing advocation of the use of narcotics and 
free sex are ideal to send to university officials, 
wealthy donors, members of the legislature and parents 
of students who are active in New Left matters. 

5. Since the use of marijuana and other nar- 
cotics is widespread among members of the New Left, you 
should be alert to opportunities to have them arrested 
by local authorities on drug charges... 

6. The drawing up of anonymous letters regard- 
ing individuals active in the New Left . These letters 
should set out their activities and should be sent to 
their parents, neighbors and the parents' employers. 
This could have the effect of forcing the parents to 
take action. 

7. Anonymous letters or leaflets describing 
faculty members and graduate assistants in the various 
institutions of higher learning who are active in New 
Left matters. The activities and associations of the in- 
dividual should be set out. Anonymous mailings should 
be made to university officials, members of the state 


legislature. Board of Regents, and to the press. Such 
letters could be signed ''A Concerned Alumni" or ''A Con- 
cerned Taxpayer . " 

8. Whenever New Left groups engage in disrup- 
tive activities on college campuses, cooperative press 
contacts should be encouraged to emphasize that the dis- 
ruptive elements constitute a minority of the students 
and do not represent the conviction of the majority... 

9. There is a definite hostility among SDS and 
other New Left groups toward the Socialist Workers 
Party (SWP) , the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA) , and 
the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) . This hostility 
should be exploited wherever possible. 

10. The field was previously advised that New 
Left groups are attempting to open coffeehouses near 
military bases in order to influence members of the 
Armed Forces. Wherever these coffeehouses are, friendly 
news media should be alerted to them and their purpose. 
In addition, various drugs, such as marijuana, will 
probably be utilized by individuals running the cof- 
feehouses or frequenting them. Local law enforcement 
authorities should be promptly advised whenever you 
receive an indication that this is being done. 

11. Consider the use of cartoons, photographs, 
and anonymous letters which will have the effect of 
ridiculing the New Left. Ridicule is one of the most 
potent weapons which we can use against it . 

12. Be alert for opportunities to confuse and 
disrupt New Left activities by misinformation. For ex- 
ample, when events are planned, notification that the 
event has been cancelled or postponed could be sent to 
various individuals. ... 


FBI documents referred to without other citation are in the author's 
files and the FBI Reading Room in Washington, D.C. Many of these, as 
well as documents cited to other sources, will be in Churchill and Vander 
Wall, eds., COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret War 
on Domestic Dissent CSouih End Press, 1989). The notes use the follow- 
ing shorthand: 

AFSO The Police Threat to Political Liberty (American Friends Service Committee, 1979). 

Documents: Macy, Christy, and Susan Kaplan, eds.. Documents: A Shocking Collection of 

Memoranda, Letters, and Telexes from the Secret Files of the American Intelligence 

CommMw//y (Penguin Books, 1980). 

Iron Fist: The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove: An Analysis of the U.S. Police (Center for 

Research on Criminal Justice, 1975) 

NLG: Counterintelligence: A Documentary Look at America's Secret Police (National 

Lawyers Guild, 1982). 

Senate n, Senate m, Senate VI: Books II, in, and VI of Intelligence Activities and the 

Rights of Americans, Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations 

unth Respect to Intelligence Activities, U.S. Senate (94th Cong., 2d Sess. Rep, No. 94-755, 

U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976). 

1. Buitrago, Ann Man, Report on CISPES Files Maintained by FBI Headquarters and 
Released Under the Freedom of Information Act^Fund for Open Information and Account- 
HEADQUARTERS^CCenteT for Constitutional Rights, 1988); SELECTED HEADQUARTERS 
CISPES DOCUMENTS CCenteT for Constitaxioml Rights, 1988); Ridgeway, James, "Abroad 
at Home: The FBI's Dirty War," Village Voice, Feb. 9, 1988, and "FBI Spies on Three in 
Congress," Village Voice, March 31, 1987. 

2. Harlan, Christi, "The Infomiant Left Out in the Cold," Dallas Morning News, April 6, 1986, 
p.l; King, Wayne, "An FBI Inquiry Fed by Informer Emerges in Analysis of Documents," 
New York Times, Feb. 13, 1988, p. 33; Gelbspan, Ross, "Documents show Moon group aided 
FBI," Boston Globe, April 1988, p.l; Ridgeway, James, "Spooking the Left," Village Voice, 
March 3, 1987; Testimony of the Centerfor Constitutional Rights before the House Committee 
on the Judiciary, Subcommiteeon Civil and Constitutional Rights, Feb. 20, 1987, pp. 19-21; 
Bielski, Vince, Cindy Forster, and Dennis Bernstein, "The Death Squads Hit Home," The 
Progressive, Oa. 16, 1987. 

3. Tolan, Sandy, and Carol Ann Bassett, "Operation Sojourner: Informers in the Sanctuary 
Movement," Nation,]u\y 20/27, 1985; Ovryn, Rachel, "Operation Sojourner: Targeting the 
Sanctuary Movement," Covert Action Information BulletinNo. 24 (Summer 1985); Critten- 
den, Ann, 5awc/M^rv(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988). 

4. Anderson, Jack, "Navy Infiltrates Group Opposing Nuclear Arms," Washington Post, ]a.n. 
28, 1984; Peck, Keenen, "The Take-Charge Gang," The Progressive, May 1985. 

5. "FBI Spies on Peace Groups," Movement Support Network News, April 1986. 



6. Ungar, SanfordJ., "The FBI on the Defensive Again," The New York Times Magazine, 
May 15, 1988. 

7. Jones, Jeff, "City Settles with Albany Activists," Guardian, Aug. 17, 1988; interview with 
CDCAAR attorney Lanny Walter, Sept. 1988. 

8. Donner, Frank, "Travelers' Warning for Nicaragua," The Nation, July 6/13, 1985; 
Ridgeway, James, "Home is Where the Covert Action Is," Village Voice, Dec. l6, 1986; 
Harassment Update, 13th Ed., April 1988 (Movement Support Network). 

9.Cole, David, "The Deportation of a Poet," The Nation, June 25, 1988. 

10. Ridgeway, James, "Home is Where the Covert Action Is," Village Voice, Dec. l6, 1986; 
Update on Political Break-Ins, May 1988 (Movement Support Network); Harassment 
Update, 13th Ed.; Kohn, Alfie, "Political Burglaries: The Return of COINTELPRO?" Nation, 
January 25, 1986; Schneider, Keith, "Pattern is Seen in Break-Ins at Latin Policy Groups," 
New York Times, December 3, 1986, p. A13; Gelbspan, Ross, "A Political Thread Entwines 
Break-ins," Boston Globe, January 18, 1987; Gelbspan, Ross, "Central America Activists Call 
for Probe of Break-ins," Boston Globe, December 7, 1986, p. 28. 

11. Soble, Ronald, "Deportation of Alleged PLO Members Tied to FBI Report," Los Angeles 
Times, Feb. 22, 1987, p. 3; Gottleib, Jeff, "Immigrants say they're target of FBI harassment," 
Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 22, 1988, p.A3; Butterfield, Jeanne, "Arrested Pales- 
tinians Under Surveillance for Three Years," Guardian, April 8, 1987, p. 7; Madi, Salim, 
"Secret Plan Targets Arabs," Guardian, Feb. 18, 1987, p. 1; interview with Linda Lotz, Field 
Representative, American Friends Service Committee, June 1988. 

12. Lopez, Alfredo, Dona Licha's Island: Modem Colonialism in Puerto Rico (South End 
Press, 1987), pp. 140-142; "FBI Raids Homes of Independentistas," Movement Support 
Network News, Autumn 1985; interview with defense attorney Linda Backiel, Oct. 1988. 

13. Tate, Greg, "Dirty Tricks vs. the Right to Dissent," Village Voice, Ju\y 2, 1985; Interview 
with NY8+ defendant and attorney, Roger Wareham, July 1988. 

l4.Collins, Sheila, The Rainbow Challenge (Monrhiy Review Press, 1986), p. 293. See also: 
TuUos, Allen, "Voting Rights Activists Acquitted," The Nation, August 3/10, 1985. 

15. Cowan, Paul, Nick Egleson, and Nat Hentoff, State Secrets: Police Surveillance in 
America CHolt, Rinehart & Winston, 1974). 

16. E.g., Wall, Robert, "Why I Got Out of It," New York Review of Books, Jan. 27, 1972, 
reprinted in Watters, Pat, and Stephen Gillers, Investigating //7e /^S/ (Ballantine Books, 
1973), pp, 336-350, and in Piatt, Anthony, and Lynn Cooper, Policing America (Prentice 
Hall, 1974), pp. 105-118. 

17. This and the following history is based on Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United 
States CHarpQT and Row, 1980), pp. 529ff. For the text of the Papers: The Pentagon Papers 
(Bantam Books, 1971). 

18. Zinn, p. 542. 

19. Zinn, p. 543; Johnson, Loch, A Season of Inquiry: The Senate Intelligence Investigation 
(University of Kentucky Press, 1985), pp. 221, 271; Hersh, Seymour, The Price of Power 
(Simon and Schuster, 1983) p. 295. 

20. Zinn, p. 543. The Report appeared in Village Voice, Feb. l6 and 23, 1976. 

21. Donner, Frank, The Age of Surveillance (y'mtSige, 1981) pp. 170, 175; AFSC, pp. 

22. Statement of Retired FBI Special Agent Arthur Murtagh, US. Intelligence Agencies and 
Activities: Domestic Intelligence Programs; Hearings before the Select Committee on Intel- 
ligence, US. House of Representatives, Part 3, (94th Cong. 1st Sess., U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 1976), p. 1044; Interview with Retired FBI Special Agent Wes Swearingen, June 

23. Biskind, Peter, "Inside the FBI," Seven Days, May 7, 1978, reprinted in NLG, p. 103. 

24. FBI letter, 8/25/67, excerpted on p. 77 of this book; reprinted in NLG, p. 12. 

84 Brian GUck 

25. Ibid. 

26. Senate m, p. 4. 

27. Senate m, p. S. 

28. This list of targets and the following overview of COINTELPRO programs is based on: 
the sources listed in the back of this book; Horrock, Nicholas, "FBI Releases Most Files on 
Its Programs to Dismpt Dissident Groups," New York Times, Nov. 22, 1977, p. 26; and the 
author's research at the FBI Reading Room in Washington, D.C. 

29. The quote is from FBI Airtel, 3/4/68, excerpted on p. 78-79 of this book; reprinted in 
NLG, p. 17. See generally: Senate m, pp. 79-184; Gan-ow, David, The FBI and Martin Luther 
King, Jr. (W.W. Norton & Co., 1981) and Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King and the 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (y'mtaige, 1988). 

30. This section is based on the sources listed in the back of this book, augmented by the 
author's own experiences and discussions with other 1960s activists. 

31. Cluster, Dick, "It Did Make A Difference," in Cluster, ed.. They Should Have Sen/ed That 
Cup of Coffee iSouih End Press, 1979), p. 136. 

32. See FBI Memorandum and Airtel in NLG, pp. 9-10. 

33. Documents, pp. 178-180; Senate HI, pp. 135-161; Donner, pp. 214-217; Garrow, pp. 

34. E.g., Gregory, Dick, and Mark Lane, Code Name ''Zorro "(Prentice Hall, 1977); T'Shaka, 
Oba, The Political Legacy of Malcolm X(y\^di World Press, 1983), pp. 217-240; Breitman, 
George, Hennan Porter, and Baxter Smith, The Assassination of Malcolm X (Pathfinder 
Press, 1976). 

35. Rips, Geoffrey, "The Campaign Against the Underground Press" (a Pen American Center 
Report), in UnAmerican Activities (City Lights Books, 1981); Mackenzie, Angus, "Sabotag- 
ing the Dissident Press," Columbia Journalism Review, March 3, 1981; Armstrong, David, 
A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America (Souxh End Press, 1981), pp. 137ff. 

36. Senate m, pp. 185-223 ("The FBI's Covert Action Program to Destroy the Black Panther 
Party"); Churchill, Ward, andjames Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret War 
Against The Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (South End Press, 
1988), pp. 63-99. 

37. Zinn, pp. 529-544. 

38. Senate m, pp. 76-77; Donner, pp. 73-74, 131. 

39. Dinges, John, and Jeff Stein, "Webster's Mission: Burying Hoover's Ghost," Boston 
Globe Magazine, May 1, 1983. 

40. Iron Fist, pp. 31-86; AFSC, pp. l4-l6,24-6l; Burkholder, Steve, "Red Squads on the 
Prowl: Still Spying After All These Years," The Progressive, Oct. 1988. 

41. On CIA domestic covert operations, see: Senate HI, pp. 679-732; Wise, David, The 
American Police State (Random House, 1976), pp. 183-257; McGehee, Ralph, Deadly 
Deceits: My 25 Years With the CIA (Sheridan Square Publ. 1983), pp.ix-xii, 81-86. 

42. Peck, pp. 19-20; Butz, Tim, "Garden Plot & SWAT: U.S. Police as New Action Army," 
Counterspy, Winter 1976; Lawrence, Ken, "The New State Repression," Covert Action 
Information Bulletin, Summer 1985. The manuals are cited at note 98. 

43. Memorandum, 4/27/71, and Airtel, 4/28/71, in Perkus, Cathy, COINTELPRO: The FBI's 
Secret War on Political Freedom (Monsid Press, 1975), pp. 26-27. 

44. Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 135-349; Johansen, Bruce, and Roberto Maestas, 
Wasi'Chu: The Continuing Indian W<5fry(Monthly Review Press, 1979); Matthiessen, Peter, 
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse QVikmg Press, 1984); Messerschmidt, Jim, The Trial of Leonard 
Peltierlsouih End Press, 1983); Weyler, Rex, Blood of the Land: The Government and 
Corporate War Against the American Indian Movement (y\n\2ige Books, 1984); Amnesty 
International, Proposal for a Commission of Inquiry into the Effect of Domestic Intelligence 
Activities on Criminal Trials in the United States of America (1981) pp. 41-46. 


45. Churchill and Vander Wall, p. 175; Johansen and Maestas, p. 84. 

46. Johansen amd Maestas, pp. 95-96. 

47. AFSC, pp. 59,67; Rapoport, Roger, "Meet America's Meanest Dirty Trickster," Mother 
Jones, April 1977. 

48. Hinds, Lennox, Illusions of Justice: Human Rights Violations in the United States ClJniv. 
of Iowa School of Social Work, 1978), pp. 165-204. 

49. Hinds, pp. 258-263, augmented by the author's experience as counsel for the RNA in 
its Freedom of Information Act litigation. See also: Edwards, Allison, "FBI Disrupts Republic 
of New Africa," National Latuyers Guild Notes, Oct. 1978. 

50. Durden-Smith, Jo, Who Killed George JacksonF (.Alfred A. Knopf, 1976); Mann, Eric, 
Comrade George: An Investigation into the Life, Political Thought, and Assassination of 
George Jackson (Harper and Row, 1974). 

51. The account of Geronimo Pratt's case is based on the author's experience as a member 
the legal team handling Pratt's efforts to reopen his case. See also: Churchill and Vander 
Wall, pp. 77-94; Amnesty International, pp. 21-33; CBS television, 60 Minutes, Nov. 29, 

52. Moore, Dhoruba, "Strategies of Repression Against the Black Movement," Black 
Scholar, May-June 1981; Shakur, Assata, Assata: An Autobiography (LsLwrence Hill & Co., 
1987); Bukhari, Safiya, Lest We Forget (Black Community News Service, 1985). 

53. This paragraph is based on the author's experience as counsel for the NY3 in their 
efforts to obtain a new trial. Pleadings and documents are on file at the Cardozo Law School 
Criminal Law Clinic in New York City. An excellent video is available from Paper Tiger TV, 
339 Lafayette St. NY, NY 10012. 

54. "Progressive Chicanos Sue FBI, CL\," Black Panther Newspaper, Aug. 20, 1977, p. 1. 

55. Donner, pp. 347-348; Iron Fist, p. 135. 

56. U.S. V. Martinez, Federal Reporter, 2d Series, vol. 667, p. 886; Martinez, Elizabeth, "The 
Kiko Martinez Case," Crime and Social Justice, Summer 1982 and Summer 1983. 

57. Anglada Lopez, Rafael, "A New Wave of Repression?" Claridad, Oct. 28/Nov. 3, 1983, 
p. 9; Donner, pp. 384-385; documents on file at the People's Law Office, Chicago. 

58. Nelson, Anne, Murder Under Two Flags: The US, Puerto Rico, and the Cerro Marravilla 
Cot^er-f>^(Ticknor& Fields, 1986); Suarez, Manuel, "Ex-Puerto Rican Police Agent Guilty 
in Slaying of 2 Radicals," New York Times, March 19,1988; Lopez, Alfredo, Dona Licha's 
Island: Modem Colonialism in Puerto Rico (South End Press, 1987), p. 149; Berkan, Judy, 
"The Crime of Cerro Maravilla," Puerto Rico Libre, May-June 1979. 

59. National Committee to Free Puerto Rican Prisoners of War, Petition to the United 
Nations, May l6, 1980, p. 35. 

60. Rips, p. 129. 

61. Gregory-Lewis, Sasha, "Revelations of a Gay Informant," The Advocate, March 9, 1977; 
"Report of the House Select Committee on Intelligence," Village Voice, Feb. l6, 1976, p. 91. 

62. Harris, Richard, Freedom Spent(Uii\e, Brown, 1975), pp. 273-378; Donner, p. 384. 

63. Viorst, Milton, "FBI Mayhem," New York Review of Books, March 18, 1976; Donner, pp. 

(SA. Donner, pp. yji-y7&, Donner, Frank, "The Confessions of an FBI Informer," Harper's 
Magazine, Dec. 1972. 

65. Crewdson, John, "FBI Reportedly Harassed Radicals After Spy Program Ended," New 
York Times, March 23, 1975, p. 33. 

66. UENews, March 1975; Lawrence, Ken, Profile of an FBI Provocateur (Anti-Repression 
Resource Team, 1981). 

86 Brian Click 

67. Stein, Jeffrey, "Karen Silkwood: The Deepening Mystery," The Progressive, Jan. 1981; 
Rashke, Richard, The Killing of Karen SilkwoodOloughion Mifflin, 1981); Kohn, Howard, 
Who Killed Karen Silkwood? iSummii Books, 1981). 

68. Taylor, G. Flint, "Waller v. Butkovich," Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Reporter, 
Jan./Feb. 1986; Greensboro Justice Fund, Greensboro Civil Rights Suit: Confronting 
America's Death Squads 2n6. The Greensboro Civil Rights Suit: The Struggle Against Racist 

69. Holowach, Frank, "The NASSCO Case: A Case Study in Infiltration and Entrapment," 
Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1985; Lindsey, Robert, "Bombing Plot Trial 
Nears End on Coast," New York Times, June 3, 1981, p.A17; "Ironworkers Move to Expel 
Five Activists at NASSCO Shipyard," Labor Notes, July 21, 1982; interview with attorney 
Leonard Weinglass, May 1988. 

70. Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, Title 50, United States Code, sec. 421(c). 
See generally: Pell, Eve, The Big Chill (Beacon Press, 1984), pp. 29-95; Government 
Decisions Without Democracy (J^QO^Xe for the American Way, 1987). 

1\. Senate in,^.'b. 

72. National Security Act of 1947, Title 50, United States Code, sec. 403(d)(3). 

73. Pell, pp. 193-194. 

74. Pasztor, Andy, "Walsh Probes Whether North, Secord Spied on Reagan Critics, Sources 
Say," Wall Street Journal, Dec. 7, 1987, p. 54; Picharallo, Joe, "Contra Funds Used to Fight 
Suit," Washington Post, June 29, 1987, p.A3; "North Spies on Institute," Convergence 
(Christie Institute), Spring 1988. 

75. Chardy, Alphonso, "Reagan advisers ran 'secret* government," Miami Herald, July 5, 
1987, p.lA; Ridgeway, James, "Return of the Night Animals," Village Voice, Feb. 26, 1985; 
Peck, Keenen, "The Take-Charge Gang," The Progressive, May 1985. 

76. 5ew«te//, p. 66. 

77. See Senate V7and sources listed in the back of this book. 

78. Wolfe, Alan, The Seamy Side of Democracy (Long^i^n, 1978), pp. 86-88. 

79. Zinn, pp. 363-364; Cook, Fred J., The FBI Nobody Knows (MsLcmiHsin, 1964), pp. 61-70; 
Ungar, Sanford J., FBI(m\e, Brown & Co., 1975), pp. 41-42. 

80. Powers, Richard Gid, Secrecy and Power: The Life of /.Edgar Hoover(FTQe Press, 1987), 
pp. 56-129; Goldstein, Robert Justin, Political Repression in Modem America (Schenkmsin 
Publishing, 1978), pp. 144-163. 

81. Railway: Ungar, p. 46; Sacco &. Vanzetti: Goldstein, p. 169. 

82. Hill, Robert A., " 'The Foremost Radical Among His Race:' Marcus Garvey and the Black 
Scare, 1918-1921," Prologue, Winter 1984. 

83. Powers, 179-227; Cook, pp. 146-204; Shen-ill, Robert, "The Selling of The FBI," in Gillers 
and Waters, pp. 23-44. 

84. Senate m, pp. 392-396. 
S5. Senate n, p. 22. 

86. Cook, pp. 270-302; Theoharis, Athan, and John Stuart Cox, The Boss: J. Edgar Hoover 
and the Great American Inquisition, (Temple Univ. Press, 1988), pp. 250-254, 280-294; 
O'Reilly, Kenneth, Hoover and the UnAmericans (Temple Univ. Press, 1983). 

87. Theoharis, Athan, ed.. Beyond the Hiss Case: The FBI, Congress & the Cold War(yemp\e 
Univ. Press, 1982), chs.6-8; Cook, pp. 303-327, 362-376; Schneir, Walter and Miriam, 
Invitation to an Inquest (J^zniheon, 1983). 

88. Senate n, pp. 30-33,46-49; Senate UI, pp. 416422,448-457. 

89. Waltzer, Kenneth, "The FBI, Congressman Vito Marcantonio, and the American Labor 
Party," in Theoharis, ed.; Theoharis and Cox, p. 144n. 


90. Mitgang, Herbert, Dangerous Dossiers: Exposing the Secret War Against America's 
Greatest Authors CDonsld I. Fine, 1988) pp. 31-33; Theoharis and Cox, p. 255. 

91. Donner, 144-145; Bailey, Percival, "The Case of the National Lawyers Guild," in 
Theoharis, ed.; D'Emilio, John, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities (Univ. of Chicago 
Press, 1983), p. 124; Bennett, Sara, "New Info Disclosed on Surveillance of Lesbians and 
Gays," Quash: Newletterofthe National Izitvyers Guild Grandjury Project, Aug./Sept. 1982. 

92. Senate II, pp. 38,61-62; Crewdson, John, "Details on FBI's Illegal Break-Ins Given to 
Justice Dept.," New York Times, Jan. 27, 1979; Sector, Bob, "FBI 'Bag Squads' Called 
Common: Former Agent Tells of Break-Ins by Thousands," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 2, 1979, 
p. 1; Marro, Anthony, "FBI Break-in Policy," in Theoharis, ed., pp. 96-99. 

93. Senate HI, pp. 417-422; Hedgepeth, William, "America's Concentration Camps: The 
Rumors and the Realities," Look Magazine, May 28, 1968; Ross, Caroline, and Ken 
Lawrence,/. Edgar Hoover's Detention PlaniAmerican Friends Service Committee, 1978). 

9A. Senate n, p. ^^. 

95. Ibid. 

96. FBI Memorandum, 8/28/56, excerpted on p. 74 of this book; reprinted in Hearings 
before the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to 
Intelligence Activities, Vol. 6'(94th Cong. 1st Sess., U.S. Gov. Printing Office, 1975), p. 372. 

97. Airtel reproduced in NLG, p. 104. 

98. Kitson (Stackpole Books, 1971), p. 71. See also: Evelegh, Robin, Peace-Keeping in a 
Democratic Society (C. Hurst & Co., 1978); Lawrence, Ken, "The New State Repression, 
Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1985; KLare, Michael, and Peter Kombluth, 
eds. Low Intensity Warfare (Pantheon, 1988); Miles, Sara, "The Real War: Low Intensity 
Conflict in Central America," NACLA Report on the Americas, April/May 1986. 

99. Ungar, Sanford J., "The FBI on the Defensive Again, New York Times Magazine, May 
15, 1988, p. 75; Shenon, Philip, "FBI Agent Admits Harassing Blacks," New York 7?me5, July 
5, 1988, p. 1; Shenon, Philip, "Judge Finds FBI Is Discriminatory," New York Times, Oct. 1, 
1988, p. 1. 

100. FBI Memorandum cited at note 96. 

101. Donner, pp. 133-138; Iron Fist, pp. 133-135; Goldstein, pp. 473-477; Senate BI, pp. 
225-247; Cowan, et al., pp. 221-257; Chevigny, Paul, Cops and Rebels: A Study ofProvoca- 
rton (Pantheon, 1972). 

102. Donner, p. 136. 

103. FBI Memorandum in Rips, pp. 68-69. 

104. Letter from FBI Director to New York Field Office, Aug. 24, 1970. 

105. FBI Memorandum in NLG, pp. 59-60. 
10^. Senate m, p. A^. 

107. Letter from FBI Director to Washington Field Office, July 1, 1968; Memorandum from 
Washington Field Office to FBI Director, July 9, 1968; Memorandum from New York Field 
Office to FBI Director, July 10, 1968. Portions of these documents are in NLG, p. 58. 

108. Donner, 191-194. 

109. Senate m, pp. 35-36, 218-220; Documents, pp. 110-112; Berlet, Chip, "COINTELPRO: 
What the (Deleted) Was IL'-Media Op," The Public Eye, April 1978. 

110. Richards, David, Played Out: The Jean Seberg S'torj' (Random House, 1981), pp. 
234-269; Donner, p. 237. 

111. Senate m, pp. 37-40, 189-195; Donner, pp. 221-223; NLG, pp. 38-39. 

112. Senate m, p. 210; Donner, p. 225. 

113. E.g., Wall, "Special Agent for the FBI," in Piatt and Cooper, p. 109. 

88 Brian Glick 

114. The quote and the pre-reunion version appear in Gitlin, Todd, The Sixties (Bantam 
Books, 1987), pp. 363-364. The account of the reunion, where Gitlin also first heard the 
true story, is based on my experience as a participant. 

115. Documents, pp. 142-145; Lewis, Anthony, "Mocking the Law," New York Times, ]une 
11, 1984. 

116. Wall, in Watters and Cillers, p. 341, and in Piatt and Cooper, p. 109; Rips, p. 105. 

117. Senate m, pp. 200-207. 
lis. Senate nip. 45. 

119. Airtels between New York Field Office and FBI Director, Oct. 17, 21, 25, 1968. 

120. Senate m, pp. 52-55; Documents, pp. 141-142, 145-147. 

121. Senateni,p. 199,n. 60; Carson, Clzyhome, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening 
of the i5)(5(Qs (Harvard Univ. Press, 1981), p. 284. 

122. Carson, p. 284. 

123. FBI Memorandum in NLG, p. 41. 

124. Senate m, pp. 195-198; Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 65-66. 

125. Senate m, pp. 8, 29-30, 34, 56-57, 60-61, 140-145, 172-178, 208-213; Documents, pp. 

126. Senate m, pp. 56, 177-178; Donner, p. 233; Moore, p. 11. 

127. Rips, pp. 96-99, Mackenzie, pp. 10-11; Armstrong, pp. 146,150. 

128. Senate m, pp. 559-677; Wise, pp. 399-400. 

129. Senate m, pp. 45-46. 

130. "COINTELPRO En Puerto Rico: Documentos Secretos FBI," Pensamiento Cntico, 
Summer 1979; Neufeld, Russell, "COINTELPRO in Puerto Rico," Quash: Newsletter of the 
National Latvyers Guild Grand Jury Project, Aug./Sept. 1982; Documents, pp. 176-178. 

131. Interview with Mike Spiegel, SDS National Secretary, 1967-68, SDS Washington, D.C. 
Regional Organizer, 1968-69. 

132. Senate m, pp. 31-32. 

133. Lawrence, Ken, "Mail Surveillance," Covert Action Information Bulletin, April 1981; 
Lotz, Linda, Bugs, Taps and Infiltrators: What to Do About Political Spying (National 
Lawyers Guild Civil Liberties Commitee, 1988). 

134. AFSC, pp. 65-67. 

135. FBI memorandum in Cowan, Egelson, and Hentoff, p. 139. 

136. Donner, pp. 353-385; Goldstein, pp. 493-494. 

137. Senate m, pp. 833-920; Donner, pp. 321-352; Wise, pp. 322-351. 

138. Senate m, p. 57; Documents, pp. 140-141. 

139. See FBI Memorandum cited at note 29 above. 

140. FBI Airtel in NLG, p. 56. 

141. Rips, pp. 82-124. 

142. Senate m, p. 217. 

143. Wolfe, pp. 41-43. 

144. Mitford, Jessica, The Trial of Dr. SpockCKnopf, 1969); Nelson, Jack, and Ronald Ostrow, 
The FBI and the Berrigans (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1972); Epstein, Jason, The 
Great Conspiracy Trial(y'mt2ige, 1971); Carson, pp. 252-257, 289-298; Brown, H. Rap, Die 
Nigger Die/ (Dial Press, 1969); Davis, Angela, et al.. If They Come in the Morning (Signet, 

145. Goldstein, pp. 529-530; Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 63-99; Freed, Donald, Agony 
in New Haven: The Trial of Bobby Seale, Erica Muggins, and the Black Panther Party 


(Simon & Schuster, 1973); Zimroth, Peter, Perversions of Justice: The Prosecution and 
Acquittal of the Panther 21 (Viking Press, 1974); Kempton, Murray, The Briar Patch 
(Dutton, 1973); Seale, Bobby, Seize the nm^(Vintage Books, 1970), pp. 289-361. 

146. FBI Memorandum, San Diego Field Office to Director, 2/3/69, quoted in Amnesty 
International, p. 20. 

147. Wolfe, p. 41. 

148. Copeland, Vincent, The Crime of Martin SostreQAcGrav/liiil, 1970); Goldstein, p. 514. 

149. Keeting, Edward, Free Huey! The True Story of the Trial ofHuey Newton (Ramparts 
Press, 1971); Churchill and Vander Wall, p. 6l. 

150. Goldstein, p. 514. 

151. Rips, pp. 103-104. 

152. Amnesty International, pp. 12-14. 

153. Jackson, Geoige, Soledad Brother. The Prison Letters of George Jackson (Bantam 
Books, 1970); Armstrong, Gregory, The Dragon Has Come: The Last Fourteen Months in 
the Life of George Jackson (Harper and Row, 1974). 

154. Bergman, Lowell, and David Weir, "Revolution on Ice: How the Black Panthers Lost 
the FBI's War of Dirty Tricks," Rolling Stone, Sept. 9, 1976. 

155. Airtel from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Director, 4/3/68, p. 7. 

156. Gregory: NLG, p. 22; Hoodwink: Senate JH, p. 50; Donner, pp. 189-190. 

157. Senate m, pp. 192-193. 

158. FBI memoranda: New York Field Office to Director, 9/10/69; Director to New York, 
9/23/69; New York to Director, 5/21/70. 

159. Senate m, pp. 267-270; Viorst, New York Review of Books, Donner, pp. 440-446; Rips, 

160. Donner, pp. 427-430; Rips, pp. 117-120. 

161. Goldstein, p. 445. See generally: NLG, pp. xiii, 4-5; Senate m, pp. 239-244\ Donner, 
pp. 207-208. 

162. Senate JZZ, pp. 353-371; Donner, pp. 130-132; and sources listed in note 92. The 
operation against the Progressive Labor Party was described in an interview with Ken 

163. See sources at note 92. 

164. See sources at note 35. 

165. Goldstein, pp. 526-527. 

166. Rips, p. 112. 

167. Goldstein, pp. 509-513; Petition to the United Nations, p. 24. 

168. Sale, Kiricpatrick, 5£>5(Random House, 1973), p. 64ln. 

169. Bergman and Weir, Rolling Stone. 

170. The account that follows is based on Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 64-77, and 
Donner, pp. 226-230. 

171. Wilkins, Roy, and Ramsey Qark, Chairmen, Search and Destroy: A Report by the 
Commission on Inquiry into the Black Panthers and the Police (Harper and Row, 1973). 
The opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Hampton v. Hanrahan, 
is in the Federal Reporter, 2d Series, vol.600 (1979), starting at p. 6OO. 

172. See sources listed at note 34. 

173. Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 82-84. 

174. Senate m, pp. 6-7. 

175. Senate ni, pp. 5-6. 

90 Brian Glick 

176. See Falk, Richard, Revolutionaries and Functionaries: The Dual Face of Terrorism 
(E.P.Dutton, 1988); Chomsky, Noam, Pirates and Emperors: International Terrorism in the 
Real \ror/<^ (Claremont Research and Publications, 1986), Hennan, Edward, "Terrorism & 
Retaliation," Zeta, April 1988, and "Lemoynespeak," Zeta, May 1988, and The Real Terror 
Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda (South End Press, 1982); Chomsky and 
Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism(^^o\x\}[i End Press, 1979). 

177. See especially General Assembly Resolution 33/24 (Dec. 8, 1978); also. Res. 32/14 
(Nov. 7, 1977), Res. 31/34 (Nov. 30, 1976), Res. 33/82 (Nov. 1975); Res. 27/08 (Dec. 14, 

178. Assata: An Autobiography (S^i-^rQViGt Hill & Co., 1987). 

179. Cf. Wise, pp. 311, 398; AFSQ p. 4. 

180. "The Red Squads Settlement Controversy," The Nation,]M\y 11-18, 1981. 

181. See sources at note 1. 

182. Alliance to End Repression v. City of Chicago, Federal Reporter, 2d Series, vol. 742 
(1984), p. 1015 (emphasis added). 

183. See Golden, Renny, "Sanctuary: Choosing Sides," Socialist Review, No. 90. 


American Friends Service Committee, The Police Threat to Political Liberty, Philadelphia: 


Amnesty \niQm2iX\on2\, A proposal for a commission of inquiry into the effect of domestic 

intelligence activities on criminal trials in the United States of America, London: 1981. 

Carson, Clayboume, In Struggle: SNCCand the Black Awakening of the 1960s, Cambridge, 

MA: Harvard University Press, 1981. 

Center for Research on Criminal Justice, The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove: An Analysis of 

the U.S. Police, Berkeley, CA: 1975. 

Chomsky, Noam, "Introduction" to COINTELPRO: The FBI's Secret War on Political 

Freedom, Blackstock, ed., New York: Vintage Books, 1976. 

Churchill, Ward, and Vander Wall, Jim, Agents of Repression: FBI Attacks on the Black 

Panthers and the American Indian Movement, Boston: South End Press, 1988. 

Churchill, Ward, and Vander Wall, Jim, COINTELPRO Papers, Boston: South End Press, 


Donner, Frank, The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America's Political 

Intelligence System , New York: Vintage Books, 1981. 

Goldstein, Robert, Political Repression in Modem America: 1870 to the Present, Cambridge, 

MA: Schenkman Publishing Co., 1978. 

Lopez, Alfredo, Dona Licha's Island: Modem Colonialism in Puerto Rico, Boston: South 

End Press, 1987. 

Moore, Richard "Dhoruba," "Strategies of Repression Against the Black Movement," The 

Black Scholar, May-June 1981. 

U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence 
Activities, Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, Books II, III, & VI (94th Cong. 
2d Session, Report No. 94-755), Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976. 

Wise, David, The American Police State: The Government Against the People, New York: 
Random House, 1975. 

Wolfe, Alan, The Seamy Side of Democracy: Repression in America, New York: Longman, 
Inc., 1978. 

Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, New York: Harper & Row, 1980. 


Brian Click is a lawyer who was active in SDS and the civil rights 
and antiwar movemements of the 1960s, and who continues to work in 
the social justice and anti-intervention movements. Co-author of The 
Bust Book: What to Do Until the Latuyer Comes and The Jailhouse 
Latuyer's Manual, he has served as legal counsel for Geronimo Pratt, the 
Republic of New Afrika, the New York 3, and other targets of political 
repression. He currently represents community groups in New York City. 



For educational materials and campaigns: 

• Christie Institute, 1324 N. Capitol St. NW, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 

• Movement Support Network (an anti-repression project of the Center for 
Constitutional Rights in conjunction with the National Lawyers Guild), 666 
Broadway, New York, NY 10012, (212) 614-6422 

• National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression 126 W. 119th St., 
New York, NY 10026, (212) 866-8600 

• National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, 236 Massachusetts Ave. 
NE, #406, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 543-7659 

• Political Rights Defense Fund, P.O. Box 649, Cooper Station, New York, NY 
10003 (212) 691-3270 

For legal advice and assistance: 

• Center for Constitutional Rights, 666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, (212) 

• Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, 19 Temple Pi., Boston, MA. 02111, 
(617) 482-3170 

• Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, 663 S. Shatto PL, Los Angeles, 
CA. 90005, (213) 487-1720 (Check to see if the civil liberties union in your 
area will help.) 

• National Conference of Black Lawyers, 126 W. 119th St., New York, NY 
10026, (212) 864-4000 

• National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, 175 Fifth Ave. , New York, NY 
10010, (212) 673-1360 

• National Lawyers Guild, 55 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013, 
(212) 966-5000 or the NLG chapter near you. . 

• People's Law Office, 633 S. Dearborn, #l6l4, Chicago, IL. 60604, (312) 

For help with research and investigation: 

• Anti-Repression Resource Team, P.O. Box 122, Jackson, MS 39205, (601) 

• Center for Investigative Reporting, Freedom of Information Project, 530 
Howard, 2d Floor, San Francisco, CA. 94105, (415) 543-1200 

• Data Center, 464 19th St., Oakland, CA. 94612, (415) 835-4692 

• Fund for Open Information and Accountability, 145 W. Fourth St. , New York, 
NY 10012, (212) 477-3188 

• National Security Archives, 1755 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., #500, 
Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 797-0882 

• Political Research Associates, 678 Massachusetts Ave. , #205, Cambridge, MA. 
02139, (617) 661-9313 






Covert Action Against U.S. Activists 

and What We Can Do About It 

JXt is a must handbook for private study and group discussion by all 
progressive and radical activists. Today's defense depends on our 
knowledge of yesterday's repression. The message: the political police 
haven't forgotten us— we can t afford to forget them and their methods. 

— Philip Agee, former CA. A agent 

Brian Glick has produced a useful tool, a book which not only details 
COINTELPRO and Its Illegal actions in the '60s— that is, gives us back a 
piece of our history— but, more Importantly, tells us what we can do about 
domestic covert action directed against us right now. In these times, 
Gllck's book becomes a necessity. 

—Margaret Randall, author of Sondlno's Daughters 

This book deals with one of the most important Issues in our Constitutional 
democracy and is one of the most important contributions to the subject 
yet written. 

—John Conyers, U.S. House of Representatives 

War at Home describes activities that can only be accurately described 
as government-sponsored terrorism against those of its own citizens who 
are so brash as to engage In a serious struggle for justice, democracy, 
and peace. It shows that every disgraceful tactic that our government 
uses In Its "covert" activities abroad it also uses in its little understood 
covert "war at home." 

—David DelHnger, peace activist 

Brian Glick has given us not only a brilliant and chilling account of the 
government's dirty war against Its own people, but has provided a 
^complete bottle plan to combat It. 

—Haywood Burns, National Lawyers Guild and 
National Conference of Black Lawyers 

The breadth and scope of the massive FBI investigation of CISPES indicates 
that the Bureau was engaged in an illegal campaign to stifle dissent, that 
its violation of Constitutional rights of citizens who oppose unpopular U.S. 
wars continues. War at Home is a timely and important book which every 
activist working for peace and justice at home and abroad must read. 

—Angela Sanbrano, Committee in Solidarity 
with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) 

ISBN: 0-8 

Cover by Mike Spiegel and Loie Hayes